The Country in the City

‘It’s like a wild forest!’ my cousin’s 5 year old daughter cried out in delight as she ran through our garden in Wattle Grove at Easter. I have never seen a little child look so excited!

You see my cousin’s daughter has lived in a dense urban area all her life. Her exposure to plants and animals either happens at the zoo once or twice a year or at my house in Wattle Grove.

With so many areas in Western Australia becoming more and more developed (resulting in the destruction of habitat) I can’t help but wonder to myself what will be the affect on young people who are totally deprived of experiences in nature?

I feel so lucky to have grown up in Wattle Grove and to have had such rich experiences in my surrounding area (e.g. playing in the creek, going for bushwalks and spotting quendas).To this day, the beauty of this area continues to bring so much joy and peace to my life.

In 2008, after my first day of work in the city (30 minutes away), I remember the immediate sense of peace I felt as I arrived back in Wattle Grove on the bus. The lack of traffic, the bush and the birds was incredibly soothing.

Psychological research is now telling us that experiences in nature are important to our health and well-being. For instance, researcher Terry Hartig (Uppsala University) has shown that experiences in nature can relieve individual’s mental fatigue. It was found that after 45 minutes of tough mental work a walk in a natural area was better recovery for participants than taking a walk in an urban area.

This is just one of the reasons for why I believe we need to protect areas like Wattle Grove from becoming like other dense urban areas. The preservation of greener, rural areas like Wattle Grove does not only benefit the local residents but also the wider community who either pass through the area, spend time in the National Park or visit there friends/family here.

3 Responses

  1. Does the author of this blog realise that the proposed development site has none of the characteristics of a ‘wild forest’, and is for the most part already cleared land and has been for years?

    • Mark, I think you would have to concede that while 3.4 ha is grassed polo field that what is there now is a lot more like wild forrest and a habitat for wild creatures than 220 group houses which, if my information is correct, will all be disposing of their sewage into the groundwater and creating 650 car movements a day. Apart from that point the rezoning is the thin edge of the wedge and if you don’t believe me, ask Dick Lovegrove

  2. There’s a big difference between 3.4 hectares of cleared polo-field on a 15.1 hectare site that does currently have flora, fauna and natural waterways to having 230 red roofs and vast expanses of bitumen.

    Bare in mind the comment was a made by a 5 year old child who has grown up in a dense urban area. From this little girls perspective properties with trees and native animals occur as a ‘wild forest’.

    But you have overlooked a very important point Mark. By approving this rezoning and development it sets a precedent for other dense urban developments that consequently result in more land clearing and habitat destruction. Do you want all of the greenbelt that protects the Darling Range destroyed? The line has to be drawn somewhere.

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