What is the London Environmental Networks Green Infrastructure Program? 

The London Environmental Network (LEN) Green Infrastructure (GI) program supports the London community at large. Green Infrastructure refers to “the natural vegetative systems, engineered features and green technologies that collectively provide society with a multitude of economic, environmental, and social outcomes”. (Green Infrastructure Ontario). 

Basically, GI uses natural processes to increase green spaces, biodiversity, and sequester carbon. All in which help to build climate resilience. GI can be anything from storm-water management (Rain-Gardens, permeable pavements, bioswales), pollinator gardens, green roofs, living walls, mini-forests, community gardens, and more. 

So.. What are the benefits?

As cities evolve and expand, GI projects are needed to help combat the effects felt by dense cities and growing populations. There is no doubt that GI projects benefit the environment, some examples include:

  • Increasing biodiversity and supporting the entire ecosystem
    • Adding more pollinators, providing enriched habitat and shelter for wildlife, producing food sources for animals, insects, and even fungi.
  • GI projects help to mitigate the heat island effect, which is predominantly felt in urban cities.
  • Green spaces become carbon sinks- eliminating excess carbon from the atmosphere.
  • GI projects help to absorb water, manage stormwater, and decrease chances of flooding in urban and residential areas. 

But what else?

The overall health and well-being of the community is positively impacted by GI projects. Everything in this world is interconnected, and we see this with GI, increased green spaces and the health of the population. Access to green spaces encourages more physical activity among the population. It reduces stress, anxiety, and depression, and provides a calming environment. Green spaces offer a space for social interaction, play, discovery, and can nurture a sense of admiration for the environment. Plus, not to mention all the benefits to being surrounded by higher levels of biodiversity! All of these elements and lifestyle influence each other. 

How do I get involved with GI? 

You too can create your own GI project. It doesn't have to be large- start small and work with the space you have. Try to get creative and think outside the box. Have you considered a vegetable garden on the side of your property? Do you live in an apartment building with access to a balcony? If you don’t have great access to sun, what about planting shade loving plants? Could you access a local community garden? Or even building a rain garden to mitigate stormwater runoff. There are endless options to help build biodiversity and climate resilience. Reach out to LEN if you need any support or have any questions! 

Everything is connected, and GI projects positively contribute to the overall health and well being of our planet, and all life that inhabits it. 

Stay tuned for upcoming GI projects for 2024!

Sustainability Coordinator
London Environmental Network
[email protected]