As the human global population grows toward a projected 9 billion in 2050, developing a system of sustainable land use is becoming imperative for sustainability professionals. Sustainability in land use will mean balancing the territory devoted to living spaces and agriculture with that which is allowed to remain untouched, and ensuring that all environments remain healthy. This will ensure good human living conditions, sufficient and sustainable food production, and the prevention of a collapse of the biosphere caused by rampant development and wastefulness.
It falls to environmental professionals to ensure future land use works to promote the long-term wellbeing of environments, ecosystems, and communities. Due to their transdisciplinary training in understanding and managing environments, graduates with an M.S. in Professional Science will be well positioned to take on this crucial task.
Here is a closer look at the role land use holds in two key areas of environmental interest.
Land Use Policies Can Help Manage Future Urban Growth
The world is quickly urbanizing. Over 54 per cent of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas, and the UN projects that this number will increase to 66 per cent by 2050. To accommodate these new citizens, new development for residences, utilities, and other services will be undertaken in urban areas around the world. Thoughtful approaches to urban land use during this time of expansion will be essential, and ensuring that new construction in major urban areas is not undertaken in a careless manner will be of particular importance. Doing so can help protect what precious natural environment still exists nearby.
Environmental professionals can play an important role in this new development, acting as advocates for sustainable policies for infrastructural expansion. Examples of considerations could include ensuring that construction of new projects like bridges or residential developments do not overly disrupt local habitats, improving the efficiency of municipal mass transportation operations to encourage eco-friendly commuting, and more.
Completing a Masters degree in Environmental Science can teach you the science and communication skills needed to work in environmental policymaking, and could allow you to guide urban development toward smarter, more environmentally sound decisions. Taking on this sort of work is an excellent way for environmental professionals to make a real difference in building the types of urban communities necessary for a more sustainable future.
Good Land Use Ensures Development of Natural Spaces is Done Sustainably
Natural, untouched spaces provide essential homes where flora and fauna can flourish. They allow ecosystems on which humans rely to function, and so preserving as much of this natural wilderness as possible will remain a hugely important task for environmentalists for many years to come.
Unfortunately, natural spaces are often at risk of destruction to accommodate human developments. Projects like mining, highway construction, farming, and many more are often undertaken on land that was once pristine, and this can put delicate species and even entire ecosystems in danger of collapse.
Though an amount of destruction is unavoidable in development, professionals with training in environmental science and sustainability can create plans to prevent a variety of unintended consequences from causing further harm. For example, a good land use plan might prevent a waterway from being diverted by development—an action which can cause an increase in soil salinity that is deadly to plants—when an alternative plan could avoid it. It could also take into account migratory or nesting habits of endangered species in an area and introduce special measures to protect these vulnerable creatures from the new development. It’s challenging work, but the reward of creating a healthier environment makes it crucially important.
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