In the Dutch city of Utrecht, the roofs of hundreds of bus stops were recently covered with low-growing succulent plants called sedum. It’s not to make them look good (though it does). It’s to create new habitats for bees and butterflies in the middle of the city. In the Netherlands, as in other parts of the world, insect populations have fallen sharply over the last two decades; in one nature reserve, the number of some insects dropped in half . Many insects are endangered. Adding greenery back into paved-over cities can’t fully address the problem, but more urban biodiversity could help. The city also recognizes that installing green roofs has other benefits. [Photo: © Barbra Verbij/courtesy Clear Channel] Heavy rains are becoming more common because of climate change, and extra green space can help soak up some of the water to prevent flooding. During heat waves, greenery has a cooling effect (the Netherlands, like many other places around the world, broke all-time heat records in July). The tiny bus-stop gardens can also help improve air quality. “The sedum filters the air, catches fine dust, and in this way, improves the quality of the air,” says Annelies Kieboom from Mobilane, […]

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