I was recently asked by a concerned party; if there can be a balance between environmental conservation and economic development. The answer is yes, and there can be a balance. This is where the term green economy comes in. Green economy is basically development that generates improvement of people's lives without degrading the environment, or while ensuring environmental care and conservation. This is most often referred to as sustainable development. Green economy supports or ensures three basic things; social well-being, advancing economy and environmental care.
How to achieve green economy?
The current economic growth model focuses on profits and gains only, leading to environmental destruction and poor resource use as well as an increase in poverty levels and reduction in living standards, or as it is said, poor become poorer and rich richer. To achieve a green economy it first has to start with a change in attitude and way of thinking. We should view ourselves as part of the environment. Example the way we take care of our houses, we clean it, repair any damages, ensure our daily practices do not damage the house and anything it.
We should view the environment in the same way, it is our home hence our duty to take good care of it. Instead of carelessly throwing away trash, find good ways to reuse and recycle. Example organic household kitchen wastes can be composted and made into good manure, and this can be your source of income too, selling the manure. It is easy and not much effort or capital is needed. As for the plastic wastes and inorganic wastes, reuse them. Plastic containers can be reused in many ways, and this can also be a source of income. So you can turn trash into cash and in the process, reduce wastes in the environment and improve your economic status, win-win.
Another way to a green economy is changing our daily practices to better ones. In this case I am talking about alternative energy sources, use less firewood and charcoal. This can be achieved by using energy saving jikos; this will in turn reduce the demand and hence save our forest cover. Also you can use biogas which can be also generated from your everyday organic wastes.it is easy to set up and will not only save our tree cover, reduce greenhouse gas emissions (for further read on greenhouse gases and climate change, refer to my earlier post on climate change) and also save your money and improve your economic status. To further save on energy, use energy saving bulbs and solar powered bulbs and rely more on solar energy than electricity and your bills will drastically drop. This also goes for industries and establishments.
Other practices towards green economy include rainwater harvesting instead of drawing water from the river and other water bodies, this can be used for domestic, irrigation and even industrial purposes. Use of organic instead of plastics, plastics are a menace, do not degrade and are unsightly make our lands loose its aesthetic values. So go for brown bags instead of plastics, instead of buying food tins, make one from your plastic containers, and minimize your plastic use. For the farmers, use organic instead of chemical fertilizers, this will ensure minimal pollution. Also for the business minds practice green business ideas.
Another way is through exercising to your constitutional right. According to the new constitution; every person has the right to a clean and healthy environment, so you have the right to complain if this right is violated and report to the relevant authorities. You also have a duty to protect the environment. And of course, plant a tree today. Spread the word and promote a green economy, this is a sure way forward to protect our environment as well as improve our livelihoods. Change begins with you.