As COVID-19 tore across Europe and the world it struck at the heart of our societies, taking lives and revealing in a harsher, more uncompromising light the extent of social, economic, and environmental disparities within our communities. In some sense, the pandemic spread indiscriminately. Yet, it is clear that factors such as income level, housing type, neighborhood, and other socioeconomic variables would (once again..) determine starkly different levels of exposure or risk. Individuals, families, and communities have not suffered the effects of the pandemic in the same way. But what does this really mean? How have people coped with the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 mitigation policies? What lessons can we draw from this period?
In March this year a competition was launched in Denmark challenging municipalities to compete for the title of "wildest municipality". The winning municipality will be assessed on the following criteria: new biodiversity ideas, engagement, the size of the areas converted for biodiversity and spreading of knowledge and skills related to creating wild nature to citizens. In addition, municipalities are free to focus on completely different activities to improve biodiversity in the municipalities. Out of 98 municipalities 89 have enrolled and the competition will run from now and until autumn 2022. Surprise, surprise, Høje Taastrup is of course part of the competition and Nabil Zacharias Ben Chaabane Nabil and his team are part of the endeavors. Obviously, the URBiNAT project in Høje Taastrup will help in this matter, since one of the aims is with citizens to improve biodiversity in the Gadehavegaard area. The big prize is 1 mill. Danish kroner to be invested by the winning municipality in additional biodiversity. Similar to the successful strategy in Hjørring, the competition highlights the importance of engaging citizens and other stakeholders to achieve a maximum of biodiversity. Now the big question: Have you got a great idea that Høje Taastrup could use to help them win this competition? If you have, Nabil and I would love to hear from you. Tom Mackenzie Tom , you are welcome to use this story on our website also, if you find it worth while.