Our European citizens’ initiative, “Green Garden Roof Tops” follows our vision of bringing back natural green areas into the cities, granting more space and habitat to animals as birds and insects by transforming unused, grey, hot rooftops into green healthy sites to cool our cities down, produce oxygen and enhance transpiration. A brighter future, a greener Europe and a sustainable way to guarantee a good co-existence between human needs and the care for the environment: this is what we stand for.
Our names are Almog Yoana and Negev Raphael Sade, we are both from Germany, and we have accumulated experiences in Israel, The Netherlands and Spain. Our initiative “Green Garden Roof Tops” started collecting signatures on the 26 of May, 2021. To turn our idea into reality, we gathered seven great individuals around us, who are group members of our European citizens’ initiative and together we successfully launched our initiative to change our future for the better.
The core of our plan is to utilise existing and unused space found on flat roof tops of office buildings within cities. The idea is to create green gardens on those roof tops with the aim and vision of achieving a greener Europe. This will have an essential contribution to the most urgent problem we face, namely climate change. The installation of green garden roof tops will vary according to the climate of the different countries and the weight the rooftops are able to sustain. There will be no exhaustive list with regards to the types of flora the green garden roof top will consist of corporations will gain expertise to decide which elements to implement on the rooftops, while recognising and respecting the relevant guidelines.
In order to achieve a greener Europe, the aim of our initiative is to create an EU law. Our proposition to the European Parliament is enforcing our initiative by establishing an EU Regulation which will apply to all the Member States in the European Union. Enforcing our European citizens’ initiative will have a significant positive effect on our environment, resulting in the improvement of climate change through the reduction of global warming, water pollutants and other issues arising from the current environmental crisis.
In the case where corporations use the empty and unused space existing on their roof tops and convert it into a green area, positive aspects within the urban cities will be efficient and will occur in a short period of time. More particularly, the air will be purified, rainwater will be buffered by plants avoiding drainage issues, sparing energy consumption, encouraging biodiversity in cities, the ambient temperature will be reduced, and the indoor temperatures will be cooler.
Herewith, the environmental benefits are not the only factors that play an important role in our initiative. By transforming empty and grey roof tops in cities into a green surface, other key factors are recognised and covered, more specifically, the economic, social and ecological aspects. When focusing on the economic perspective this plays a significant role which is a key element in the functioning of the European Union. Therefore, the economic interest is an essential factor for the performance and actualisation of our initiative.
To implement our idea and vision, we took into account three important elements, namely, corporations, citizens and governments. From the corporations’ point of view, there will be noticeable benefits, which can be determined as follows:
- Reputation of the specific company as it will gain points in sustainability compared to other companies;
- Motivation of the employees, who may take part in the Green Garden Rooftop Project will increase, which will have in return a positive effect on the company’s productivity;
- Government Aid, as the governments will support the specific corporations by granting a certain tax credit at the end of the fiscal year.
Regarding the social aspect, the employees of the corporation are an important and essential part in the project. The employees may volunteer once a month or more depending on the requirements of the green garden in question. In this way, from the employee’s perspective, the individual is actively participating and supporting the environmental crisis, their self-esteem will increase by having the possibility to act and not feel helplessness.
With regards to the government position, the latter will be responsible in supporting this idea by encouraging companies in taking an active part in the project. Taking into account that the environmental crisis is having a massive impact on our society and economy, today and even more in the decade to come, we believe that this governmental support may be reflected with tax credits within each fiscal year.
Figure 1: Ground-level O₃ Around Counties in the European Union between the years 2014 and 2018 (European Environment Agency, 2021 - Air pollution country fact sheets)
Figure 1 presents air pollutants, namely O₃ between the years 2014 and 2018 in terms of percentage. The focus on air pollution steams from the fact that air pollution is a critical problem which we are facing around cities around the world in our current time. From all the different pollutants the following terms are the most problematic ones that Europe is dealing with: Particulate Matter (PM₂․₅), Nitrogen Oxides (NO₂) and Ozone (O₃). It is important to remark that air pollution is a local, regional and transboundary issue which leads to several negative consequences and impacts outlined below.
To conclude, our focus is on the environmental crisis and on the climate change. It is a known fact that our environment is not in a good condition. There are several problems which have emerged over the years, such as anthropogenic climate change, the depletion of stratospheric ozone, the acidification of surface waters, the destruction of tropical forests, the depletion and extinction of species, and the precipitous decline of biodiversity. We need to rethink and find ways to increase the awareness of environmental problems and how to bring our society, the economy and the protection of our planet in a healthy balance. It is up to us, the young generation to stand up and make a difference.
Lastly, we will be happy to hear from you, your ideas, your recommendations, how we can all work together and make our world a better place. In addition, we would appreciate your support and becoming a part of this great initiative by signing our European citizens’ initiative, please find the link below:
Our European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), “Green Garden Roof Tops” - https://eci.ec.europa.eu/017/public/#/screen/home
Website - https://www.greengardenrooftops.com/
Social Media – Instagram: ggrt_euinitiative | Twitter: @garden_tops.
ContributorsAlmog Yoana Sade
From the educational perspective, Master’s degree in Fiscal Economics at the University of Maastricht, The Netherlands. Double Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Accounting. From the professional point of view, an Intercompany and Cash Accountant student in the accounting department at Intel. Internship as a student in the Budgetary Control Department in the Project of the Israeli Parliament, the “Knesset”. With regards to volunteering, volunteering work in the SPCA, as well participated in the “Real Estate Club” and “Liberal Club” of the university. Currently, the representative and founder of a European citizens’ initiative, “Green Garden Roof Tops”.