Long-lasting Value of Green Spaces in Saudi Arabia:
Many countries have devised their approach to tackling the recent environmental disasters faced globally. For most of these countries, renewable or green energy has been at the centre of this approach. However, a relatively different approach recently emerged in select countries. This environmental approach is the deployment of green spaces.
Here, we will discuss what green spaces are and their importance in Saudi Arabia.
What are Green Spaces?
Green spaces are open spaces or pieces of land covered by vegetation like trees, grass, or shrubs. These spaces can either be partially or entirely covered. Many of these green spaces are integrated into parks and open areas to create a serene environment for people seeking recreation. However, some experts have started to push green spaces as a possible solution to environmental issues.
While green spaces are gradually gaining footing in the Middle East, their adoption is still minimal in the region. For instance, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital, currently has a minimal presence of green spaces. However, the Middle Eastern governments have been increasingly intentional about launching green spaces in their countries. In 2018, Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah municipality announced that it was fully committed to increasing green spaces in the city through reforestation projects. This year, the UAE government has also announced that it was focused on launching more green spaces in the country. This drive to increase green spaces is due to the numerous benefits that green spaces could provide to the Saudi Arabian kingdom.
Green Spaces: What’s in It for the Middle East?
As stated earlier, green spaces are highly beneficial. One of the most significant benefits of green spaces is that they help battle climate change. This is because green spaces often involve the existence of large-scale vegetation. Vegetation, like trees, can absorb carbon from the air. This is why they are often called “carbon sinks.” More so, trees have long been used as carbon sequestration avenues. In this case, carbon sequestration is the process of removing carbon from the atmosphere.
Another benefit of green spaces in the Middle East is that it increases biodiversity. This is particularly important, as the Middle East has been experiencing severe biodiversity loss. Many of the region’s native species have been reduced due to habitat loss. Green spaces can provide a conducive environment for these species to thrive.
Lastly, green spaces can also facilitate cooling. Heat is one of the most prominent features of many Middle Eastern countries. This heat wave is even more common in urban cities. According to the Washington Post, the Middle East is heating up twice as fast as other regions. This report was published after temperatures in the Middle East topped 125 degrees last year. Green spaces can help reduce these heat challenges by facilitating cooling through efficient ventilation and natural absorption.
The Middle East’s climate challenges have increased the need for more green spaces in the region. Thus, more Middle Eastern governments will likely adopt the green spaces strategy in the coming years.