London is many things. But is it a place of outstanding natural beauty, such as the Yorkshire Moors, Yellowstone National Park or the Sahara desert? Anyone who has taken a train through Croydon or driven along the North Circular will answer that question with a fervent, resounding and forceful ‘fuck, no’. And there’s no denying that London’s natural beauty is often overlooked in favour of its grand buildings, dingy back alleys and myriad public houses. But perhaps people just aren’t looking hard enough, or in the right places. That’s certainly the idea behind a campaign which aims to have London declared the world’s first urban national park.
Sound far-fetched? What if we told you that more than 60 percent of London is green space and water? That it’s home to 1,500 species of flowering plant and 300 species of birds? That it has 142 nature reserves and an estimated 3.8 million private gardens? Not to mention the incredible diversity of languages, cultural institutions and Unesco World Heritage Sites that make this city so brilliant. Not laughing now, are you? The organisers of the Greater London National Park campaign have started a petition that you can sign to support the initiative. After all, we can all do with a reminder now and again of just how lucky we are. Even in Croydon.
Find out more at greaterlondonnationalpark.org.uk.