Biophilic Cities Commends Pittsburgh

The Biophilic Cities Network presented a certificate to Pittsburgh’s mayor for the city’s many progressive environmental initiatives. 

Mayor William Peduto spoke of the city’s programs enhancing tree canopy, fostering clean water, expanding green spaces and removing pesticides. Timothy Beatley of the Biophilic Cities Network delivered the certificate after describing the global reach of the organization.

Biophilia refers to our innate connections to nature,” Beatley said. 

The organization’s website states that it’s important for urbanites to have “daily contact with nature.” It also states it’s a city’s responsibility to conserve nature “for non-human life and people.”

The Biophilic Cities organization started five years ago. Since then, cities in Singapore, Spain, the UK, Costa Rica, Australia, Panama, India, Canada and the United States have joined the network. 

The 670 acres of mountain-side parks in Pittsburgh are protected. Those parks will serve as the start of its program to expand the tree canopy into the majority of the city. The city’s clean sewer overflow project aims to restore the streams and rivers. 

Other projects will bring green spaces to neighborhoods currently lacking it. The city will cease pesticide use with a new public works program. 

“A lot of people would’ve thought that there would’ve been a pushback from the workers who now have to pull weeds by hand,” Peduto said. “They understood the dangers inherent in (pesticide use) as well.”

Peduto credited a local indigenous activist with starting the city’s anti-pesticide movement. He spoke of a young girl named Rachel Carson who went to Congress to speak about pesticide pollution in the water.

“It’s upon her shoulders that we stand as proud Pittsburghers,” Peduto said.