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 Minister of Environment and Climate Change Aaditya Uddhav Thackeray has to say about nature in Mumbai:
“Aarey Forest, Mumbai’s “natural green lung” is absolutely inseparable for the mega city. For every Mumbaikar, Aarey is much more than just a forest. It is a magnet for budding environmentalists, a space for recreation, peaceful sanctuary amidst nature, and a place away from the bustling city life. It is also a serene ecosystem in itself, inhabiting more than 290 wildlife species, from leopards to the rusty spotted cat to endemic spiders, making it one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems. The forest has a deeply rooted, rich culture stemming from the 27 indigenous tribes living there since time immemorial.
Some of them also worship the “waghoba” or the tiger/leopard god.
Over the last decade, the island city has become more vulnerable to climate emergencies, thereby making the Aarey forest one of last green enclaves, key to addressing climate change. It houses more than 500,000 trees, and a plethora of species in that number, establishing itself as a significant carbon sink of Mumbai and regions around it.
Understanding the socio-ecological importance, we have declared 808 acres of Aarey forest as ‘Reserved Forest’ enabling the forest to get statutory protection by law from encroachment and protecting its precious flora and fauna.
Climate change is the greatest inequity — the ones least responsible are most affected. I am certain that Mumbai will be a leading example of how diverse ecosystems can thrive in urban environments to achieve inclusive climate resilience for all.
Aaditya Uddhav Thackeray
Minister of Environment and Climate Change,
Government of Maharashtra”