Connect people with nature for better urban life
Updated 13:03, 28-Apr-2019
He Siyuan
Editor's note: He Siyuan is an assistant professor that specializes in ecosystem management and protected area management at the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Nature Resources Research in Beijing, China.The article reflects the author's views and not necessarily those of CGTN.
Twenty years after the Kunming Expo, the International Horticultural Exhibition (Category A1) is back to China again in 2019, which will open to the public in Beijing on April 29.
Within these twenty years, both China and the world have experienced fast economic development. The global urbanization rate has increased from 46 percent to 55 percent, and this trend is expected to continue to reach 61 percent in 2030, when the world is expected to have 43 megacities with more than 10 million inhabitants, most of them in developing regions.
Urban life and living have generated a wealth of opportunities, but has also brought about challenges. Apparently, we have gradually become disconnected with nature. How often do you sit on an open green to have a cup of tea, spend a couple of hours walking tree-lined streets, listening to bird chirping in the early morning in a park?
The answer is obvious. We are too busy to enjoy life even though our original goal is to pursue a better life. Thus, it is not uncommon that we take a handful of vitamin pills and retreat to a crowded gym for good physical health, and we alienate ourselves from nature and people so much that mental problems arise.
Aerial view of the China Pavilion ahead of the Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition 2019 at Yanqing District, Beijing on April 5, 2019 in Beijing, China. /VCG Photo

Aerial view of the China Pavilion ahead of the Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition 2019 at Yanqing District, Beijing on April 5, 2019 in Beijing, China. /VCG Photo

We need to get reconnected with nature for better urban life and the upcoming 2019 Beijing Expo will provide us with a good opportunity of achieving that. Under the theme "Live Green, Live Better," the 2019 Beijing Expo aims to build a beautiful home for the mankind in which man and nature coexist in harmony. This harmony is not a new concept, which can also be found in many other cultures.
In China, “Tian Ren He Yi” (the Unity of Heaven and Man) is a traditional belief that nature and men are connected by a profound unity. Reflected in urban design and planning, this unity is the connection between urban residents and the living creature around them and the environment.
In the 2019 Beijing Expo, various precious indigenous and cultivated flowers are blooming, with some rare species from all over the world. Beautiful outdoor gardens have brought with them diverse horticultural traditions and modern technologies explaining what beauty truly means in an integrated way.
You may also marvel at the wisdom in tradition and the innovation in material and technology. The most important you may find is that, connecting with nature in the urban environment is not difficult at all.
A bit greener, a lot better. A green lifestyle should become common for urban residents. Horticulture is one of the best expression of the co-existence and co-evolution of human beings and nature.
People admire nature's elegance and wildness, carefully choose and modify suitable elements, and integrate them into everyday life. It is a process of learning and creating, whichh contributes to biodiversity and cultural landscapes.
At the end of the day, it is for a better life. Now a green lifestyle is facilitated by new materials and technologies in creating the green space, more energy-saving, eco-friendly and in general, more natural. It sounds contradictory, but imagine how a whole rainfall recycling system work. Nature won't allow any waste.
As the host city of the 2019 International Horticultural Expo, Beijing is ready for you to have fun. But it is more than having fun. They aim higher and take great efforts to promote the green lifestyle, to boost people's belief in the value of biodiversity, and to enhance their commitment to sustainability.
Night view of the venue for the Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition 2019 at Yanqing District, Beijing, April 8, 2019. /VCG Photo‍ 

Night view of the venue for the Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition 2019 at Yanqing District, Beijing, April 8, 2019. /VCG Photo‍ 

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are known as global goals, in which many are related to urban development, such as Goal 3 -- Good health and well-being, and Goal 11 -- Sustainable cities and communities.
China is a country dedicated to serving the common welfare of the mankind. Ecological civilisation has become a popular word even in the global stage for which many concrete policies and projects are taking place.
Setting up a national park system and reforming the management of natural protected area is a typical example aiming at protecting the ecological integrity and securing nature for future generations.
It is not only innovation at the technical level, but also the capability development in governance that contribute to effective action in tackling global issues. The upcoming 2020 Conference of Parties (COP-15) of Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will be held in Beijing to discuss the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. The world is anticipating China to champion the cause of nature, which the country is answering with solid steps, upholding the concept of “ecological civilisation.”
China is paying more attention to the health of the ecosystem than even before, because nature is the foundation for the survival and development of the mankind. The 2019 Beijing Expo will be open to all the exhibitors and visitors who are willing to connect with nature and care for our common future. It will eventually remind us of our original intention of seeking a better life in urban areas, encourage us to seek convenient ways of integrating horticulture into green life, and create new ways of connecting with nature.
It is never too late to connect with nature in a city life. The expo is just around the corner. Come and see, enjoy, share, learn, and most importantly, remember the feeling of immersing yourself in grand gardens. Then from next day on, connect yourself to nature that you may have neglected before.
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