What is the importance of green economy

Life on Earth is possible because of the natural environment, but today our natural environment is at risk To fulfil the demands of the growing population, natural resources are being consumed at a much faster rate than ever before Trees are being cut down for making new roads, expressways, shopping complexes, and for constructing housing societies. Such human activities have various adverse effects on the natural environment.

Rapid industrialisation, commercialisation, and the growing needs of the people has led to an increase in the number of industries, power plants, vehicles, and use of chemical fertilisers. All this is leading to environmental pollution (air, land, and water). Increased pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and depletion of natural resources contribute to global climate change.

Human Activities and Environment

Environment and human activities are closely linked to each other, one impacts the other Therefore by gradually damaging the natural environment and depleting the natural resources by their activities humans are threatening their very own existence.

The environment affects people

  • Climate
  • Water availability
  • Shelter availability
  • Soil for plant growth

People affect the environment

  • Burning fossil fuels
  • Creating urban areas
  • Cutting forests for wood
  • Flushing waste into rivers

The future of this planet is in our hands. There is a need to develop an attitude of caring and work hard to reserve the quality of the environment. This can be achieved by developing green skills, which deal with protecting the environment for the future, creating jobs that protect the environment, reducing energy consumption, and minimising waste and pollution.

Green skills:- refer to the knowledge, abilities, values, and attitudes needed to live in, develop, and support society which reduces the negative impact of human activity on the environment.

Our life depends on natural resources present in the environment like air, freshwater, and soil. By emitting pollutants, greenhouse gases, and waste, we cause drastic and irreversible damage to the environment For a long time, we humans, believed that natural resources are unlimited. Therefore, we exploited the sources available to us with little thought of their replenishment .

The economic prosperity we are enjoying right now will not last forever because natural resources are getting consumed at a much faster cate than ever before. There is already a scarcity of food, water, fuel, and pure air in many parts of the world. What is the solution to these problems? Environmental scientists believe that transition towards green economy will help in countering these ecological problems.

Green Economy

In order to understand green economy, it is essential to first understand the term ‘economy’ An economy is a system of organisations and institutions that either facilitate or play a role in the production and distribution of goods and services among the members of a society.

Green economy is an economy that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.

Green economy can be seen as a means to achieve a better quality of life on this planet by balancing environmental, economic, and social elements. It leads to sustainable development, which fulfills the needs of the present generation without exhausting the resources for future generations.

Over the past decade, many scientific studies have highlighted the problem of environmental degradation and climate change. As a result, the concept of the green economy has become a global agenda. Some important global events over the last few decades focusing on green economy include:

  • 1987 Brundtland Report
  • 1972 Stockholm Conference
  • Green Economy Coalition (GEC), Global Meeting 2020, New Delhi
  • 1992 Earth Summit and Agenda 21

Aims of Green Economy

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has proposed a three-pronged approach for the attainment of the green economy. Low carbon growth, Resource efficiency, and Social inclusion.

Low Carbon Growth

Human activities like burning of fossil fuels (coal and oil) have increased the concentration of CO2 and other greenhouse gases (GHG) like Nitrogen Oxide and Methane in the atmosphere. This prevents Earth from cooling at night, thus, causing global warming and climate change. The term ‘Low Carbon’ means reduction of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Low Carbon Growth is now generally expressed using the term Low Emission Development Strategies (LEDS). LEDS are generally used to describe the national economic development plans or strategies that include low-emission and climate-resilient economic growth. The means that the economic development of a nation will not harm the environment.

Consequences of Carbon Growth

  • The greenhouse effect has warmed up oceans and caused melting of glaciers, which in turn, an resulting in rising sea levels and changes in the amount and pattern of precipitation. Rising sea level flood coastal areas and influence the shipping industry.
  • Global warming is causing more wildfires, droughts, and tropical storms..
  • Climate change is causing tremendous loss of property and human life. The destruction of infrastructure from hurricanes, tsunamis, and other disasters take years to recover. Moreover, these disasters cause chronic waterborne diseases and lasting psychological traumas.
  • Carbon dioxide also contributes to air pollution creating acid rains Acid rains damage trees and other plant life and further pollute water and soil.
  • Polluted water and soil contaminate vegetation that we eventually consume.
  • Carbon dioxide emissions displace oxygen in the atmosphere, thus, impacting human health. There has been a rapid rise in health issues, like breathing problems, skin diseases, headaches, etc., due to the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

Thus, a low-carbon economy is essential for environmental sustainability and future prosperity. To achieve low carbon growth, green economy develops economic activity which has minimal output of greenhouse gas emissions into the biosphere. In other words, the green economy controls carbon emission in the environment by using fuels more efficiently, restoring carbon in soil and biomass, and using low carbon technologies to generate energy-efficient products and services.

Resource Efficiency

As discussed, earlier, we are depleting our natural resources by overusing and exploiting them. Green economy conserves these resources as it involves increasing prosperity by using the resources economically and without affecting the environment. In other words, the green economy emphasises becoming more resource efficient

Resource efficiency involves efforts at three levels government, corporate, and individual Apart from environment friendly technological innovations, it requires changes in almost all aspects of our life-clean transportation, efficient and cleaner energy production, water management, land management, greener buildings, waste management and disposal, are some major change that need to be brought about.

Social Inclusion

Social inclusion essentially means sharing the responsibility as well as the benefits of economic growth across all sections of society. The shift towards green practices require investments by both, private and public sectors leading to the growth in income and employment through green jobs.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), a Green Job is defined as work in agricultural, manufacturing, research and development, administrative, and service activities that contribute towards preserving or restoring the quality of the environment.

Green jobs involve greater efficiency in the use of energy, water, and material. These jobs help to protect ecosystems and biodiversity, de-carbonise the economy, and minimise all forms of waste and pollution.

Green jobs span a wide range of skills, educational backgrounds, and occupationa profiles. They occur in almost all fields. For example, people employed in setting up a solar panel or operating a wind turbine are involved in a green job beca they are working towards generating wind solar energy, which is an alternatius to burning fossil fuels. Even the industries that supply raw material for building wind turbine towers are also contributing to the green economy.

Global Impact of Moving Towards Green Economy

Given below are some of the main global impacts of moving towards green economy:

  • Contribution in preventing melting of glaciers and resulting rise of sea level.
  • Contribution in preventing climate changes such as variations in rainfall, temperature and crop production, and climatic disasters like droughts and floods.
  • Contribution to fight against global warming, desertification (fertile land becoming infertile), and loss of biodiversity (the variety of plant and animal life in a particular habitat).
  • Improvement in air, water, and soil quality.
  • Reduction in disease and deaths of living beings.
  • Reduction in money spent on conservation of environment, relief, and rehabilitation of people.
  • Increase in new areas of manufacturing such as biofuels and renewable energy sources.
  • Investment in alternative energy sources and becoming more energy efficient.
  • Improving resource efficiency and thus increasing industrial and agricultural production.
  • Increase in new areas of employment.

Green Economy in India

India has led by example in moving towards green economy. It has taken gradual steps towards a green economy in the last decade and has tried to balance it with continuous development. India aims to address the following three issues through green economy initiatives.

  • Issues of energy scarcity
  • Issues of unemployment or underemployment
  • Issues of environmental pollution

Green Skill Development Programme (GSDP) in India

TThe Skill India Mission of the Government of India, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has started the Green Skill Development Programme (GSDP) It aims to target a large number of people who will be trained as per the needs of the green sector.

Aims of the Green Skills Development Programme ( GSDP):

  • To train green skilled workers with technical knowledge and commitment to conserve and preserve the environment.
  • To generate new jobs for green skilled workers who will help to protect ecosystems and biodiversity, which reducing energy consumption, and minimising waste and pollution.
  • To preserve or restore environmental quality so that it lasts for future generations.

Some of the fields covered under Green Skill Development Program are:

  • Sewage Treatment Plant
  • Waste Management
  • Water Budgeting
  • Pollution Monitoring (Air/Water/Soil)
  • Sewage Treatment Plants (STP), Effluent Treatment Plants (ETP), and Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETP)
  • Forest Management
  • Bamboo Management

Job Opportunities Involving Green Skills

The Indian economy is expected to generate many jobs in the green sector Youths completing the GSD Course(s) can be employed in the following fields:

  • Wildlife (zoos, wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, biosphere reserves, botanical gardens, nurseries, wetland sites, State Biodiversity Boards, Biodiversity Management Committees, and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau)
  • Industries (involved in production or manufacturing of green products)
  • Tourism (as eco-tourist guides)
  • Agriculture (as organic farmers or green practitioners)
  • Education and research sectors
  • Waste management (in Municipal Corporations, Councils, urban local bodies to advise on how to improve sewage, sanitation, land use services, and tackle pollution)
  • Water management
  • Construction related areas

Climate change and pollution are posing an alarming and fast approaching threats to us and for our future generations. The world needs to take drastic and immediate actions to protect our planet for our continua existence. Governments, private sector, NGOs, and groups of awakened citizens worldwide are working diligently towards an efficient and inclusive green economy. However, there is a dire need to bring awareness to the citizens of the world to adapt to an eco-friendly lifestyle

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