• European Green Cities/Site Development

International Day for Biological Diversity 2021

Can We Build Upon A Lifeless Foundation?


“We’re part of the solution” is this year’s slogan for International Day for Biological Diversity 2021. It emphasizes that we are responsible to preserve and protect the world’s biodiversity. But why? This is actually very simple, the solutions to climate change challenges are found in nature. Biodiversity is the answer to many challenges we face in terms of, heat stress, water scarcity and pollution.


Why biodiversity?

Some people might ask themselves, why it is important to preserve biodiversity. Why can we not just develop technological solutions for climate change? Biodiversity is the driving force behind our natural ecosystem and a healthy ecosystem is the foundation of mother earth that we can live off. A healthy ecosystem cleans water, purifies our air, maintains our soil, regulates the climate, recycles nutrients and ultimately provides us with food (European Commission). A healthy ecosystem is our naturally gifted tool for survival. It is the foundation of all civilisation and sustains our economies. So, we have to take care of it because we rely on its services. As prof. E. O Wilson puts it:


“We need ants to survive, but they don’t need us at all.”


In the end the answer is simple, no we cannot build upon a lifeless foundation. A solid foundation full of biodiversity is a crucial aspect in our fight against climate change challenges. You cannot only focus on developing technological solutions without taking care of the very base. The ecosystem can be seen as the lungs of the earth. Currently the lungs are very damaged and need to be preserved before they become incapable of breathing.


The European Green Cities Development Foundation provides trainings, advice and match-making events on how to use nature in our solutions to climate change challenges. We are experienced with the effective use of Nature-Based Solutions and have among others used these to contribute to enhancing biodiversity.



Source: BalkanInsight, 2019. Photo: EPA/OMER MESSINGER


The Insect Hotel

A great example is the insect hotel designed by our partner Bert Dautzenberg (Green Art International). The multifunctional insect hotel is located in Chongming garden in Shanghai. It has at least four great functions and benefits. Firstly, insects control pets such as aphids, house flies and caterpillars, so it helps the “beneficial” insects. Secondly insects play the crucial role of pollinating flowers and also fruit and vegetables plants and trees. They play a vital role in our food production and supply. Thirdly it is a great educational tool, especially for children to learn about the behaviours and functions insects have for us all. Lastly and most importantly, the number of insects is decreasing dramatically, which is a major drain on the cycle of life. The insect hotel is therefore a very important contributor to increasing biodiversity.



Source: Shanghai Gardens Group


You can visit the insect hotel starting 21 of May with the opening of the 10th China Flower EXPO on Chongming Island in Shanghai. The theme of the 10th EXPO is “Blossoming Chinese dream” and celebrates the sister relationship between Rotterdam and Shanghai and the importance of the flora- horticultural sector.


Spiral Tree – Energy Floating Island

Another example is the beautifully artistic design of the Spiral Tree – Energy Floating Island, seen in the pictures below. The Spiral Tree is designed by our partners Nautilus Eco-Solutions BV and Elion Resources Group in Kubuqi desert, China. It is a multifunction art piece beneficial for the water quality, biodiversity and air quality.





Source: European Green Cities Development Foundation


The upper three-story structure stands above the surface of the water, and the underwater part consists of a floating structure (bottom) and a transition layer (first floor) that provide buoyancy and transition zone from the water to the land. In practical applications, the hollow floating base is connected to the steel column, the steel column is deeply inserted into the lakebed. The connection between floating base and steel column is a live buckle, to ensure that the floating island is displaced only in the vertical direction.


The energy floating island is placed next to the Spiral Tree (picture above, on the right). It contains large area of hydrophytes which can absorb the nutrients from the water and microorganisms will aggregate around the roots and decompose the organic matter. Through this way, the energy floating island can purify the water in a natural way. This floating island generates energy from the solar panels that supports lighting and irrigation of the plants on Spiral Tree.




Source: European Green Cities Development Foundation


The upper three-story structure stands above the surface of the water, and the underwater part consists of a floating structure (bottom) and a transition layer (first floor) that provide buoyancy and transition zone from the water to the land. In practical applications, the hollow floating base is connected to the steel column, the steel column is deeply inserted into the lakebed. The connection between floating base and steel column is a live buckle, to ensure that the floating island is displaced only in the vertical direction.


The energy floating island is placed next to the Spiral Tree (picture above, on the right). It contains large area of hydrophytes which can absorb the nutrients from the water and microorganisms will aggregate around the roots and decompose the organic matter. Through this way, the energy floating island can purify the water in a natural way. This floating island generates energy from the solar panels that supports lighting and irrigation of the plants on Spiral Tree.


The natural water purifier also provides a home for various species, like insects and birds. The Spiral Tree enhances biodiversity and is especially effective when placed close to urban areas, where biodiversity is disappearing.


Would you also like to use Nature-Based Solutions to solve problems like, biodiversity loss, water contamination, heat stress and air pollution?


Please do not hesitate to contact us.

International Bioversity Day Article
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  • Published: 22--2021

  • Personal author(s): van Dalen, Ditte






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