Nature breathes life into our cities. As part of a new campaign to highlight the importance of urban nature to our everyday lives, C40 has invited mayors, artists, cultural influencers and other thought leaders from cities around the world to write a ‘Letter to Nature’.
Read what Mayor of Cape Town Dan Plato has to say about nature in his city:
“Cape Town’s spectacular natural environment makes it a city unlike any other. Our city is in the heart of the world’s smallest floral kingdom, and is a global biodiversity hotspot comprising twenty natural vegetation types — seven of which only occur here — and over 3,000 species of flowering plants. These in turn, support a wealth of animal, bird, and insect life.
Within our city’s boundary, over 55,500 ha of unique biodiversity is conserved in 16 local nature reserves, two provincial nature reserves, and the world renowned Table Mountain National Park. This is in addition to over 5,000 ha of parks, greenbelts, the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, public open spaces, and thousands of street trees. Cape Town is also home to an extensive network of rivers, seasonal wetlands, water bodies, and over 300 km of coastline.
Not only are these natural assets beautiful, they provide vital ecosystem services to the people of Cape Town. They help keep us cool in summer, filter pollution from our air and water, minimise flooding in winter, allow rainwater to infiltrate and recharge our groundwater, protect our coastal communities from storms, help us adapt to and mitigate climate change, offer opportunities for jobs and tourism, and provide important recreational spaces at little or no cost to the users.
As the Mayor of Cape Town, the Mother City, I am proud to live in a city where urban nature is loved, respected, and celebrated, and forms an important part of our strategies and plans. I encourage all Capetonians to play their part in protecting and looking after our natural heritage, by taking action in their communities, participating in beach or river clean-ups, planting and caring for trees, removing invasive alien plants, and encouraging friends and neighbours to visit their local parks and nature reserves to enjoy the benefits of these green spaces. Connecting with nature helps bring the hope and healing we all need.”