Going to Nigeria I expected to be re-immersed in a culture I hadn't experienced in years. In escaping the North-American culture that I had become so comfortable with, the last thing I expected was to learn that Canada, a nation known globally for being environmentally conscious, could learn a thing or two from...Nigeria. Edmonton, the city with the "largest urban green space in North America", certainly has urban designers who are aware of the value of natural spaces in even a city environment. They make an earnest effort in seamlessly bridging the natural environment with the urban. Our 7400 hectare river valley park system spans almost the entirety of the city; paved and unpaved walking and cycling trails make give residents the ability to pursue sustainable transportation options throughout the year. It wasn't until I saw the things that were going on across the globe, that I realized the value in the little things Edmonton has failed to achieve.
Nigeria is the most heavily populated nation in Africa. This makes it a huge challenge for the government to provide it's people with their needs. Out of this inability to perform their role to the best of their ability has come one good thing. An untouched wealth of natural spaces. I could be on the 25th floor of a building "downtown" and in five minutes after leaving, be in a dense swamp. There was a seamless transition between the urban and natural environments. That's something I feel is missing from Edmonton's prized river valley. Not that it isn't amazing in and of itself. There are a number of valid reasons for way things are in North America; Safety and functionality, to name two. It's just that I had forgotten what it really felt like to explore in nature, uncensored. I
In recent years, the developed nations of the world have began to look toward Africa as a blank slate. A land rich with resources, and largely undeveloped. What was once seen as a disadvantage, losing the global race in technological advancement, has now become an advantageous position to hold. Africa has the opportunity to look through the history of all modern nations and carve a path towards the future. And it's environmental future is most definitely one I look forward to experiencing again.
Thanks for reading,
Second Article - Saturday January 16, 2016