Cities worldwide are primary contributors to global warming, producing approximately 75% percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change is causing increased water shortages in cities as well as flooding from higher intensity storms. In reality, cities, like forests, are complex ecosystems that can provide, capture and reuse life-nourishing resources. By applying lessons found in nature, Andy Lipkis is enabling everyone to manage urban ecosystems effectively and sustainably. His idea is to apply integrated resource management to urban ecosystems, and ultimately train citizens to sustain their own urban habitats.
While Lipki’s work remains rooted in his organization, TreePeople, he also launched the Functioning Community Forests with a broader mission: to retrofit cities for sustainability. This initiative inspires and equips urban dwellers to help nature heal their cities. Green infrastructure based on trees and tree-mimicking technologies could indeed solve multiple problems at once. Lipkis is part of a new civil rights movement, solving environmental challenges in ways that create sustainable, green collar jobs for the unemployed and underemployed.