Urbanization, together with the hectic pace of global warming, is undoubtedly a driver for biodiversity loss. In turn, destruction of biodiversity accelerates the rate of climate variability, as collapsed natural ecosystems become unable to regulate the dispersion of pathogens as well as their function of natural carbon sinks. The consequences are evident, for instance, when we look at the state of wetlands, that are water-rich natural areas that can be found primarily along rivers and in deltas; these are the places where most urbanization occurs. Factors such as urban expansions and overexploitation of groundwater not only hinder the wetland function as carbon stocks (that is twice as much as the carbon sequestered on average by forests) but accelerate their pace of degeneration, which in turn releases an amount of GHG emissions into the atmosphere. Among Europe’s endemic trees, meaning those that don’t exist anywhere else on Earth, 58% are endangered, and 15% assessed as Critically Endangered or one step away from going extinct. Pests, diseases, invasive plants introduced by humans, and urban development represent the largest threat to European trees again. It is easy to consider the COVID pandemic as one of the most evident consequences of large-scale species extinction, habitat loss, and biodiversity decline.
The course modules of Climate-smart cities are addressed in masterclasses and live conversations with experts in the field. The masterclasses are thematic videos recorded by experts and provide a general overview of the topic. The current situation and future challenges will be explored and identified.
The live conversations between Future Food and experts will dig deeper into the topics. We will focus on sharing insights from daily practice, discoveries, and future solutions. These live sessions are interactive with the possibility to ask questions.