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At the beginning of the 20th century there were only 11 cities in the entire world with a population over one million people. 1950 there were 50 cities, in 1990 276 and today we have around 450 (in 2015 there will probably be over 550 of those metropolis with over one million inhabitants). This urbanization leads to a huge segregation of stripes of untouched nature that makes it impossible for flora and fauna to interact in its usual ways. This has already started with agriculture and farming, which cut the land in stripes and meant the beginning of deforestation. But urbanization is even more cruel, as it leaves even less living space to animals and plants. One problem is that full land stripes are covered with concrete cities. Another problem is the highways and roads that cut through landscapes making it virtually impossible for animals to move in their accustomed ways.

By 2020 there will probably be ten cities with over 20 million inhabitants! Imagine the population concentration and its effects on nature in such areas! Already, these megalopolises are famous for their sanitary problems, their slums, crime and problems of poverty (which, as a effect often lead to more pollution due to bad policing). Also, poverty leads to the “better areas” of the city seeking seclusion. Even more concrete is built, but in this case vertically (for dividing walls). These so-called “gated communities” seek luxurious standards and are often completely unaware of the natural roots of the places they live in – these city dweller have been born into concrete, they live in concrete and all they know is concrete. Their awareness for ecological problems is often quite small (remember that most of these megalopolises are in poor countries) and not much is being done to improve the situation.

Water supply is becoming increasingly difficult and waste disposal is often unorganised, thus leading to pollution and diseases. Every fourth person on the planet does not currently have access to fresh water! This is most often an urbanisation problem. A further problem of large cities, of course, is traffic. The faster they grow the more important private transportation becomes because public transport often fails at this point (unless it has been planned based on long-term considerations).

So the cities that we live in and consider to be the height of our civilisation are actually threatening the standard of life we have gotten used to. As soon as their growth becomes uncontrollable, they become an environmental threat that is hard to evaluate. Let’s stop and think and try to help educating those who are unaware of the uprooting and destructive effects of urbanization.

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