Evergreen Economy

Green economy by definition is sustainable .That means it can’t manifest a structural commitment to “growth”. But the Green economy which is taking shape today is not so green in its nature. The present form of Green Economy is just a feel-good catchphrase rather than reality. We need to think beyond the so called ‘green’ which has today become a fashionable and thing of luxury. For that we need to think about the Sustainable economy which can exist with harmony in nature. To do so we need to give the priority to environment over the economy. Evergreen economy is based on the motto- "The ultimate aim is sustainable human happiness."For that we need to move beyond the consumer-centric approach to the economy and development.

Some common questions which come to our mind when we think about creating green economy are: Is it feasible? Can development accommodate ecology? Can green economy be affordable to everyone or is it a thing for only affluent? Can green economy provide enough production for consumption? Will this means compromising with life-style? I have tries to answer these common questions.

I want to start with the Green revolution (although nothing was green about it).There are positive things which we can learn from the green revolution and few mistakes upon which we can improve in process of setting /creating an Evergreen Economy. I am trying to analyse the concept of “Evergreen Economy” this with the help of concept of “Evergreen revolution” given by ‘Father of Green revolution in India’, Prof. M.S.Swaminathan, which means which implies increasing productivity in perpetuity without associated ecological harm. Green Revolution was a product of public-sector enterprise–there was no patenting, and the smaller farmers benefited more from the new seeds—on the other hand the gene revolution is controlled by multinational companies which are based on intellectual property rights and social exclusion in access to technology. Now the same is happening with the Green technology.

Is green economy realistic? Let’s analyse the situation:-

Failures/shortcoming of Green Economy-

  • Based on the Price efficiency which may not always translate into resource efficiency.
  • The present green economy is following the steps of Gene revolution i.e. MNC’s building IP and patents ((thus a direct hurdle) which are going to be used by the poorest of poor. One such example I want to mention is the Water Harvesting technology, which PepsiCo is planning to patent, is used for less water consumption in Rice fields. Another interesting fact is that so called green tech is biggest growing industry in terms of patents and IPs.
  • Failure of first generation Bio-diesel – the greed economy is being priority here. Jatrofa is being cultivated on fertile land which is contributing in sky rocketing food prices and increase in Hunger and also exploitation of poor and marginalised farmers by big corporate. We are basically feeding the vehicles instead of mouth!
  • We are becoming over dependent on the technology. We think in terms that technology can only solve the problem and here technology refers to technologies which are developed by the so called Educated and developed. We are not taking into consideration the solutions which an officially uneducated but intellectual in understanding can provide. Education is not always about reading the books and passing the exams.
  • Technology is often seen as creating a "digital divide" between the technological haves and have-not’s. Present green economy concept is further strengthening it. Another side effect of excessive use of technology is that we don’t think about the life-style changes which are a need of hour.
  • Technology is controlled by corporations that profit from it without regard to the adverse effects it can have.
  • For generations, industry treated “the environment” as a cost of doing business. What the green economy done is that people have started doing the business of Environment. The basic philosophy of economy getting priority over environment hasn’t changed.
  • Now-a-days it is more about being seen being green. Buy a Hybrid & landfill your SUV?
  • Another tactics to save the capitalism! Even the biggest polluters are now advocates for the green movement, like the home heating oil industry television commercial in the US claims that oil heat is energy efficient and environmentally friendly!
  • Present system of Government subsidies and tax breaks to green technology companies can’t work in a capitalist economy. All of this will of course be financed out of the hide of the working class, who will pay higher prices for "clean" consumer goods and higher taxes to finance subsidies and compensate for lost revenues due to corporate tax breaks. In the end the green economy that will supposedly "revolutionize" the economy and save the world from ecological disaster is ultimately just another way to foist austerity on the working class and erode even further its standard of living.

So how do we build a green economy that is sustainable without massive subsidies? How can we build economy which is based on the harmony with nature? How can we overcome the shortcoming of Green economy? For all of these answers we have to think out of box and adopt a rather a complex and not so linear approach. We just can’t accept a solution just that it can save a few watts of electricity (means less CO2 and less global warming) and may save a few bucks from personal wallets. We have to work on the methodology of adopting a rather mix of solution which may vary on the parameter to parameter and analyse the benefits of all and then adopt the best possible version adapted to local needs. This is same as following the Mahatma Gandhi’s principle: ‘Keep your doors and windows open; let fresh air and ideas come from all sides. Keep, however, your feet firmly on the ground and do not get blown off by untested ideas.’

Need to done for Evergreen Economy-

  • It should be based on the resource efficiency. Modern markets are 50-90% inefficient in resource utilisation. Globalisation may have increased the price efficiency but it had surely decreased the resource efficiency.
  • Develop eco-technology which is an advance that create employment, assure equity of access to resources and promote energy efficiency.
  • “There is something for everyone’s need but not for every one’s greed”. We can’t just continue on the development path as usual. We have to adopt a path different from the consumer-centric approach. Lifestyle of consumption needs to be changed.
  • Need to redefine the development indicator in terms of quality of life in other factor such as cultural values rather than in consumption only.
  • To overcome the Greed economy in clean-tech governments has to provide more funding to public-sector institutions like universities, government institutions or institutions which are working on eco-technology ,to enable them to develop technologies that are available to the poorest of poor(Individual/Country) .
  • Environment is not a thing of business. Environment should be given priority over the economy. We can’t continue to treat environment as consumable thing for granted.
  • Develop sustainability Index which allows the company to demonstrate that its concern lies beyond environmental issues to the broader arena of sustainability, which includes social and human issues.
  • A green economy must abandon the conventional “market ideology “.We must fundamentally change the operating basis of our policy and evolve the cultural values driving it.
  • The only way that governments can promote the green economy is to introduce disincentives for continued use of fossil fuels and incentives to push companies towards green economy investments. So-called "free market" forces will never make this happen; it requires vigorous state capitalist policy intervention.
  • Utilize the power of technology for equalizing influence between the rich and poor in the world. Develop the relevant technology and fine-tune the delivery mechanism so that it can be distributed to people who are the end-user.
  • Mainstreaming ecological principles in technology development and dissemination.
  • To bridge the digital divide, start with the poorest person. If you attend to the poorest person, everyone will benefit.
  • “Progress today should not be at the expense of progress tomorrow” is the common saying now days in conferences. But we forget that even we are part of it. Can’t we say in other words that “Progress made by us should not be at the cost of other”? If can realize that then it can does the miracles. Because the people responsible (Rich and elites) for the change are going to get least affected by the change. So the moral is that rather act than preach.

Well, there is a genuine and widespread concern about the despoliation of the environment and the very real threat of climate change with potentially catastrophic social impact. But we have to aware of green-washing. To make sense out of economy and developments we need fundamental change in thinking in a way that has not seen since the early days of the environmental movement. We need to ask ourselves whether we are going on right path or not? We ourselves need to analyse what are our needs? How can we make life happier without increasing consumption?

The present concept of green economy is the same politics of capitalism with name changed. This suggests that we don’t have to change the social and economics relation. What is ultimately appealing about this scenario is that it demands absolutely no change from the Developed and rich people, especially as consumers. Sustainability and green are today the biggest business and people are exploiting it like never before. What’s more ironic is that people who are living the highly unsustainable life are preaching the sustainability to those who are living the more sustainable and environmental friendly life. They think that we can just throw on a fresh coat of green and “brighten” up the economy. For achieving the sustainability in real sense we have to make the systematic changes which go beyond the thinking in terms of business only. We have to change market systems that have created both poverty and global warming. Monetary investment and market will not be able to fix the problem of environmental degradation for that our values must change. Even if we believe that technology and science alone can do the miracle then we have to ensure that science shines for everyone!


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