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  • Writer's pictureIsaac yelchin

Moving Back to Nature

Taking space and resources away from animals, we have thrived. Thrived to such an extent that the earth is covered in our “accomplishments.” We build mountains of waste and leave cities of rubble in our wake. We continue to build and expand far past the limits of space. We share this land with millions of creatures other than ourselves. In fact without these creatures we wouldn’t have existed in the first place and certainly wouldn’t survive now.

These photos detail nature infused infrastructure in the heart of Sydney Australia

They are our food, they process our waste. They create the air we breathe and they clean up our mistakes. Without the plants and animals of the world us humans are nothing but a wilted flower browning under the scorching sun.

How can we amend these issues? How can we share the space we so desperately carve out? We pay millions of dollars for just a half acre. With space this precious, how could we possibly share any of it with nature?

We need to look to the future and alter our way of living if we are to have any hope of reaching it. There are ways to do this, and do it well. One such path we can take will change the design of our construction. Animals already utilize human residences and infrastructures for their own personal gain. Remember last week's article about hawks using freeways, and spiders using your porchlight.

We can consider these creatures, and what a healthy ecosystem should look like in our area and construct with that in mind. We need to take it a step further than it is today. The mandates now are to minimize degradation to natural resources in construction, what we need to do is enhance natural resources during construction

It is complex but also simple. When you buy a plot of land and are going to build a home you would need to first compile a list of animals and plants living in the area and establish what a healthy ecosystem would look like. Then incorporate these animals and plants into your home construction.

We will run through a semi-complete example of how this can work in Southern California. You build your home so that it is slightly raised above the ground, maybe one or two feet. This allows habitat for rodents, snakes, insects, and amphibians. You place a small pond that can be easily filled. The perpetual drought in Southern California means that just a four square foot shallow pond can make a huge difference for the wildlife in the area. This pond will provide breeding habitat for salamanders, newts, frogs, and insects. Who in turn provide food for birds and mammals. This water will also attract thirsty deer, coyotes, bobcats, owls, hawks, and kestrels, among many other creatures.

When designing your home itself a luscious garden is required, but of native plants. Design your roof to have grasses and shrubs on top, and even plants hanging down your walls. Build small bird boxes, and crawl spaces for bats and other flying creatures along the edge of your roof. You can go on and on, and you should. Not only will your home be stunning and you will be astounded by the views of wildlife, but the air around will be crisp, clear, and easy to breathe.

This I am sure is expensive to build. However, money will not matter any longer when all the forests are burned and the atmosphere is short on oxygen. Money will not matter when the water you drink is so polluted it corrodes your throat. The only answer to save the planet that we are effectively turning into a flaming ball of trash, is to bring radical change to the way we live. Perhaps all governments should subsidize these changes to home building and require some level of them in all new construction.

Isaac Yelchin is foremost a herpetologist. He studies lizards, frogs, newts, and the like. Specifically, he spends all day and night thinking about what it is like to be an animal. What are the animals thinking about? What is their perspective? When he should be working, he sits and stares at his pet lizard asking himself these questions.

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