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"It is worthwhile to join nature, and even to understand and love it" says Prof. Piotr Tryjanowski

11 of October '23

At the end of October, Wrocław will turn into a space to discuss the relationship between the city and water and its impact on the quality of life. Now in its fifth year, the International Congress organized by Open Eyes Economy and the City of Wroclaw will focus on the relationship that occurs between the water and urban environments and seek ways to deal with their negative effects.

The congress is divided into three main thematic axes  City, Water, Quality of Life  with six program sessions planned, including one on the role of cities in environmental regeneration. On October 24, during the first day of the congress, Professor Piotr Tryjanowski, a scientist, ornithologist dealing with, among other things, the impact of climatic factors on living organisms and urban ecology, representing the University of Life Sciences in Poznań and the Institute from Advance Study TUM in Munich, will talk about why we need biodiversity in cities.

For A&B, he talks about the health-promoting effects of birdwatching and why we actually need biodiversity in cities

Ola Kloc: You deal  among other things with the subject of therapeutic ornithology, what is that?

Prof. Piotr Tryjanowski: What therapeutic ornithology is, in a way, reveals its name, which is a combination of the science of birds with therapies. Our idea, I deliberately use the plural, because I create and develop the concept with Dr. Sławomir Murawiec, who is a psychiatrist, was to point out that birds, in addition to their many functions from consumptive, to help in pest control, to aesthetic functions still have a fundamental health-promoting importance. And not only for ecosystems, as has been known since the beginnings of modern ornithology, but they have an excellent impact on our health, both physical and mental. Going out to watch birds means the much-needed exercise, being among the greenery and the impact of their magnificent voices and appearance. All of these elements, mentioning them only without pointing out the complications of the impacts, serve therapeutic functions very well.

Ola: When you observe birds, do you notice how climate change affects them?

Prof. Piotr Tryjanowski: Of course, by the way, this is part of my scientific work, which I have been developing for three decades, laughing a bit that I started to deal with the impact of climate on nature, including primarily birds, before it was fashionable. At the simplest level, the impact of climate can be seen on three levels. First, warm-loving species are appearing more frequently in our country, with the bee-eater being one example. Birds are changing their arrival and departure dates, and even changing their behavior so much that a sizable number of them have abandoned migration and are wintering with us. In addition, some species are changing their ranges, with warm-loving species moving north, and cold-loving ones retreating. In detail, these relationships are much more complicated, but it is this search for subtle differences that is something I like most in science.

Ola: During the Watercity congress, you will participate in the panel "Why do we need biodiversity?" what do we need it for and how to take care of it in cities?

Prof. Piotr Tryjanowski: This question about biodiversity why do we need it in the city  is one of the most common ones I encounter. And the answer to it can be extremely long and full of details. Unfortunately, we don't have the time and space for that, so I'll try to point out a few things briefly. Provocatively, it can be said that cities are created by people for people, so why bother with some birds, trees or  horror of horrors  bats?

And the answer can be twofold, again with a slight wink, that is, because, first, plans, conventions and fashion demand it. And secondly, because nature is already in the city and doesn't want to move out for any reason. It would be terribly expensive to get rid of some organisms, and probably impossible, because it is known that nature abhors a vacuum and another would quickly appear in their place. That is, if the war with nature is not won, it is worth joining nature, or even understanding and loving it!

We know that living in sterile conditions, without contact with nature, is not good neither for physical nor mental health. Going back to the question with which we started the conversation, we know from various studies that even the opposite is true  contact with nature has a very positive effect on our health and even on real estate prices. Pro-nature cities are simply better places to live. We are finally beginning to understand this, and the quality of life is not only evidenced by skyscrapers, road infrastructure and the ability to commute quickly by car. Green and blue infrastructure, green areas (forests, parks, lawns) and water  in other words, de facto areas for biodiversity  are also important. These are areas that perform important ecosystem functions, from improving air quality to integrating residents, with great once again  health consequences.

Ola: Thank you for the interview.

Ola Kloc

V Międzynarodowy Kongres Woda — Miasto — Jakość życia

© organizers archive

The 5th International Watercity Congress, organized by Open Eyes Economy and the City of Wroclaw, will be held at the Congress Center of Wroclaw University of Technology on October 24 and 25. The topic of the event is devoted entirely to the October issue of A&B. Six program sessions are scheduled: The Role of Cities in Countering the Climate Crisis; The Water Sector in the Urban Closed Circuit Economy; The Role and Use of Groundwater in Urban Development; The Biodiverse City  the Role of Cities in Environmental Regeneration; The Oder River River Without Borders; and the Healthy Cities Index.

The event will be held in a hybrid formula  stationary and online, registration is required.

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