Growing Green Cities
Where Beethoven found inspiration for his Pastoral symphony and Schubert wrote his songs, a new initiative seeks answers to a sustainable future.
With the opening strains of Beethoven’s Pastoral symphony, I close my eyes and imagine the burgeoning life of the Wienerwald (Vienna Woods), the pulsing biodiversity of the lungs of our city illustrated in music. Chipper strings portray a sunny countryside while the wood-winds join in shortly after, mimicking the twittering of birds. The composer went for long walks through these woods during his years in the city, inspiring him to write his symphony. Vienna’s Green Belt has played such an important role in shaping its culture, we often take it for granted.
But the effects of climate change are forcing us to re-think. Deforestation, it turns out, is one of the major drives of the Earth’s warming trend, resulting in nearly 50% more carbon dioxide than the energy-related carbon emissions from the entire United States and more than double the EU – according to research conducted by the World Resources Institute (WRI). Preservation and restoration of forests are key to limiting climate change and can provide a cost-effective way of reaching the needed carbon dioxide reduction by 2030.
But can a city alone contribute meaningfully to these climate goals? The new global initiative Cities4Forests says yes and is teaming up with cities worldwide who are willing to commit to change. Vienna, Europe’s greenest capital (according to Compare the Market research), is already on board.