Cities, Nature, Justice: a zoologist's perspective

Daniel Lunney


Cities and nature may seem mutually exclusive, but the animal inhabitants, both native and introduced, from pets to pests, are a major component of city life. Using Sydney as an example, this paper takes a critical look at cities and nature, more narrowly zoology, with a long-term view, i.e. one with intergenerational equity in mind. In the rapid conversion of bush to farmland, then suburbs and industrial areas, flora and fauna have not been given a strong voice. We need a new ethic for this new urban ecosystem, one which encompasses dealing with exotic species, pests and vermin on the one hand, and relic native animal populations on the other. Plans for sustainability in environment, economics and society need to recognise that these are interrelated subjects, not separate entities. I argue that knowing the natural history of Sydney is integral to understanding the city, its history, and its sustainability.

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