Vancouver, ca. 1920. In the beginning, there was a forest. A redwood forest. Then came men and built their city in the forest. They cut the trees and destroyed all forest life. The last remains are there on this picture: some last standing trees. Impressive actually. Later, these monuments of nature (some more than 3000 years old) also disappeared because of the need of city development and ‘modern’ urban planning concepts of those days.
And now, anno 2020, one century later, humanity seem to have rediscovered the environmental ‘fashion look’. It talks and thinks as in modern times, about climate change, CO2 reduction, planting trees to prevent sea level rise and the development of the cities back to green.
Urban planners are busy under volatile political skies. So nothing is sure. There is the pressure I sense, to come up with new and true solutions for earlier failing urban concepts and huge forest and ecosystem losses. Back to basics is an optimistic thought. The circle seems to close but it will not entirely be expected do so, that is to say, not really, I’m afraid.
The hundreds of thousands of species will not repopulate the city though and turn the system on again towards the intrinsic and worthy ecological spectrum like Alexander von Humboldt, Charles Darwin and John Muir once described. Look at this picture of Vancouver and sense the thin line of where we came from, once the great forest. It looks like the last eagles high in the tree on the left are waiting for their chances. Shops, people, trams and cars though do not have much to offer for them.