An environmental economist has warned that if governments neglect ‘green infrastructure’, future populations will spend more time caring for their own declining health and less time contributing to the economy through employment.
Speaking today (12 September) at an event hosted by Planning for Environment and Resource Efficiency in European Cities and Towns (PERFECT), Ece Ozdemiroglu, managing director of environmental economics consultancy Eftec, said that European countries are not doing enough to encourage green infrastructure growth in urban areas, leading to “vast decreases in air and water quality”.
The event, which took place in Slovenia, is an Interreg Europe project which promotes the benefits of green infrastructure throughout the continent. Non-profit organisation, the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) is the lead partner of PERFECT.
She said: “Never before have so many people lived in an urban setting. Growth in these areas must support the health of people by properly managing the environment to ensure that it provides the essential services which our collective health depends on.”
The economist also said that it was unlikely that any powerful economy would remain so in the future if they were not to adopt the use of green infrastructure and similar green technologies.
She added: “Lack of green infrastructure makes countries more vulnerable to changing climate and its impacts, like more frequent extreme weather such as storms and floods – and their associated damage costs.
“We are also likely to breed generations of unhealthy, unhappy people who spend more time looking after their health and less time on being productive beings.”