Currency of leaves? : The green Economy
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Picture 40 years from now, you are probably sitting on your balcony having an afternoon chat with your son. He has just returned from college where he is taking a course in “the 20th century economic models.” Out of curiosity and with knowledge that you were actively engaged in development issues, he asks what role you played in shaping the economic model that the world adopted. He is curious to know what your input was, even however small, into the debate on the need for a shift to a green economy or business as usual. What do you think your answer will be?
Young people have not really put their teeth into fully understanding the essential elements of the green economy. Most youth-led organizations that are vocal on global policy debates are not critically engaging in economic model debates, and their attention is mostly on issues of sexual reproductive health rights and overall youth participation. Being that economic models being adopted at present will effectively take shape in our adult age, we need to pay more attention to them since we will be the ones to leave with the consequences.
As it stands, there is no universal definition of the green economy; however, most interest groups look at it in-terms of its outcomes. UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) defines the green economy as an economy that results in improved human well-being and social equity with significantly minimal environmental risks. This definition, however much comprehensive, begs the question, how do you achieve such an outcome?
From what I gather, the process of integrating the green economy is already being widely advocated for. Several indicators that will illustrate whether progress has been made have already been developed. For instance, focusing on the issue of natural resource use, indicators used will focus on consumption levels and whether they decline as investment in efficiency is increased. The indicators therefore come in handy when designing intervention measures and policy options.
With this understanding in mind what is the youth position on this very important concept. Do you think a green economy will be in a position to create the millions of jobs that we are desperately in need of as young people? Do you know what qualifies as a green job? Is our capitalistic model able to accommodate a green economy or are we merely proposing concepts we know cannot work out? What is our basic role as youth in this macroeconomic shift being proposed? What type of future are we walking towards with or without a business as usual state of affairs?