Green Economy What is a Green Economy

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Model for a Green Economy based on the three pillars of sustainability

What is a Green Economy you ask? A green economy is an economy that results in overall improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing the environmental dangers and ecological scarcities. Currently, our economy is primarily an oil-based, or oil-driven economy, since it plays a major role in most everything we use and do, from cosmetics to pharmaceuticals, to electricity and transportation. This term is a model for an economy or economic development model based on sustainable development and an understanding of ecological economics.

In its basic format, its most identifying feature from prior economic models is the direct valuation of the natural capital and ecological services as having economics value and utilizes a full cost accounting regime in which costs externalized onto society via ecosystems are reliably traced back to, and accounted for as the liabilities of that entity, and takes into consideration the harm that the entity does or neglects an asset. For instance, the coal industry has many behind the scenes costs, such as pollution, health problems, CO2 emissions, and others that can be directly linked to the cost of coal in this type of economy, whereas all those negative impacts of coal are over looked in our current fossil fuel, or oil based economy.

Green Economists and green economics are loosely defined as any theory of economics in which the economy is considered to be an integral part of the ecosystem in which it exists. Therefore, in this new model for an economy, it would be considered a part of the ecosystem, and thus affect any and all decisions regarding the ecosystem.

Current models define a green economy based on six main segments which follow:

  • 1. Renewable Energy
    • A. Solar
    • B. Wind
    • C. Geothermal
    • D. Marine
      • i. Wave
    • E. Biogas
    • F. Fuel Cells
  • 2. Green Architecture and Buildings
    • A. Green Retrofits for Energy & Water Efficiency
    • B. Residential and Commercial Assessments
    • C. Green Products and Materials
    • D. Leed Construction
  • 3. Clean Transportation
    • A. Alternative Fuels
    • B. Public Transportation
    • C. Hybrid and Electric Vehicles
    • D. Car Share and Car Pooling
  • 4. Water Management
    • A. Water Reclamation
    • B. Greywater and Rainwater Systems
    • C. Low Water Landscaping
    • D. Water Purification
    • E. Stormwater Management
  • 5. Waste Management
    • A. Recycling
    • B. Municipal Solid Waste Salvage
    • C. Brownfield Land Remediation
    • D. Superfund Cleanup
    • E. Sustainable Packaging
  • 6. Land Management
    • A. Organic agriculture
    • B. Habitat Conservation and Restoration
    • C. Urban Forestry and Parks
    • D. Reforestation and Afforestation
    • E. Soil Stabilization

According to the Global Citizens Center, which is led by San Francisco PHD sociologist Kevin Danaher, a green economy can be defined as having a triple bottom line, which includes the three pillars of sustainability, and is an economy that is concerned with the following:

Three Pillars of Sustainability

    • 1. Environmentally Sustainable: This is based upon the belief that our biosphere is a closed system with finite resources and a limited capacity for self regulation and self renewal. We depend on the planets natural resources, thus, we must create an economic system that respects the integrity of our ecosystems and ensures the resilience of life supporting systems.
    • 2. Socially Just: This is based on the acceptance that our culture, or any culture for that matter, and human dignity are precious resources that, like our natural resources, requires a responsible stewardship that will avert their depletion as well. The belief is that we must create a vibrant economic system which ensures that all people have access to a good standard of living and have abundant opportunities for social and personal development.
    • 3. Local: The third pillar of sustainability is it be locally rooted, based on the current theory that an authentic connection to locality is the essential pre-condition to sustainability and justice. The Green Economy is a global aggregate of individual communities meeting the needs of its citizens through the responsible, local production and exchange of goods and services.

So in all, this new economy would include green energy supplies that are renewable to substitute or replace fossil fuels combined with energy conservation for efficient energy usage. The green economy can and will create jobs, and ensures a real, sustainable economic growth, while preventing environmental contamination and pollution, global warming, natural resource depletion and exhaustion, and overall environmental and ecological degradation.

While the current economy model is in a rut due to many different reasons, it will be harder to implement a new economy like this at this time, due to high initial costs for research and development and marketing of those. It also would need many government subsidies at a time when governments are looking for many ways to cut spending. The fossil fuel industry gets 12 times more in subsidies than the alternative energy industry according to a recent report from Bloomberg News, so this will be hard for the industry to overcome those obstacles. Those subsidies may also be needed as incentives to motivate firms to invest and produce green products and services. There were such incentives in recent history, but again, with everyone strapped for cash right now, the future of those incentives may be in jeopardy. There are also incompatibilities between the UN global green new deal call and the existing WTO trade mechanism when it comes to market incentives, as the WTO has strict rules against government subsidies, especially for exported goods.

While it is still mostly a new theory and model, I think it’s time has come, as we, as a species, have proven once again that our current system, due primarily to human weakness, has tremendously failed us all. Talk to your neighbors and local governments, as this may be the best way to move forward with a new green economy, as it is based on a more local approach than our current global model anyways.

We hope that the What is a Green Economy has helped you to better understand this new wave of the future. Peace my friends.

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