Why Now is a Great Time for Developing a Green Economy

There’s no doubt that Covid-19 has taken a human and socio-economic toll over the course of the last six months, with more than 10 million cases and 500,000 deaths recorded so far. However, the pandemic has always provided moments of hope and economy across the globe, from the boom in ecommerce and the rise of remote working to the unexpected 8% emissions reduction reported in the UK. These trends have also been impactful across the globe, and there’s no doubt that they have the potential to sustain significant and positive change into the future.

This is definitely the case when it comes to the environment, but is now really the ideal time for a developing a green and sustainable economy?

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What is a Green Economy and Why Should the World Care?

Of course, the Covid-19 outbreak came on the back of global environmental protests by organisations such as Extinction Rebellion, which sought to drive radical change and introduce a green economy that would make the UK carbon neutral by 2025.

This was deemed to be incredibly ambitious by some commentators, although the current Conservative government has pledged to create a greener, carbon neutral economy by 2050.

OK, we hear you ask, but what exactly is a green economy? In simple terms, this refers to an economy that aims to actively reduce the environmental risks posed by business and wealth generation and ecological scarcities, while also driving sustainable development without degrading the environmental landscape.

While regulations and multilateral agreements such as the Paris Climate Change Agreements take care of the first element of this, it’s socially responsible investment that drives the second.

The best example of the latter exists in the form of investment in renewable technology, which is arguably the single most important dynamic for future infrastructure spending throughout the global community.

Can Covid Trigger Increased Green Technology Spending?

With this in mind, the importance of green economics and increased renewable technology spending is clear, while the sharp decline in emissions during the coronavirus outbreak has raised hopes that a green global economy may be on the horizon.

Green Finance

Remember, China was already emerging as the world’s leading investor in renewable technology prior to the outbreak, with a global report also highlighting the continuing decline of oil values as being indicative of a changing global landscape.

Of course, there’s some argument as to whether the record decline in oil prices is triggered primarily by an ongoing imbalance between supply and demand, while the recent fluctuations of the US dollar may also be influential.

Still, there’s no doubt that fossil fuel consumption is set to decline incrementally in the coming years, and this is definitely a factor when appraising the issues faced by oil of late.

Ultimately, these facts hint at a greener and more sustainable future, and it cannot be denied that most developed economies were investing in renewable energy sources at record levels prior to the pandemic.

The question that remains, of course, is to what degree the recent emissions reductions across the globe have been inspired by such changes? The answer is telling, particularly if it turns out the reduction in CO2 emissions over the course of the last two months was solely driven by the widespread lockdown measures that curbed road and air travel.

Regardless, now is clearly the ideal time to push a greener agenda and continue laying the foundations for a more sustainable future.

4 Eco Lifestyle Habits You Should Start Implementing

In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, Mother Nature is finally starting to breathe a little easier again. Indeed, it could be argued that this has been the major benefit of the coronavirus pandemic. The rules and regulations rolled out by political leaders in different countries might be tough, but these encouraged citizens from different parts of the world to change their ways and become more environmentally conscious.

But with lockdown restrictions now easing, it might prove tempting to lapse back into old, environmentally destructive ways. So, to help combat this, we’ve compiled a few simple lifestyle changes to ensure the planet continues to heal.

1. Go organic and shop local

You might have to pay a little more for the privilege, but by shopping and eating locally and organically, you’ll soon start to notice not only the taste difference but the positive difference in your overall health.

With the UK now considering lowering its standards when it comes to importing food, with the dreaded chlorinated chicken now on the table in trade deals with the US, keeping it fresh, organic, and local has never been more important.

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The concept of safe food using organic waste generated compost is getting traction.

Aside from helping improve the environment, going organic and shopping local can also boost your local economy. By patronizing products and services from your locality, you are providing income to local workers and encouraging businesses to continue their operations. Going organic and shopping local is something everyone must do in order for their countries to easily recover from the effects of the pandemic.

2. Travel by train

We understand that travel by public transport hasn’t exactly been actively encouraged in recent months, but sooner or later, the world will return to some semblance of normality, and when that happens, train travel is comfortably one of the least damaging forms of transportation.

Of course, we would always recommend walking or cycling if at all possible, but we realise this won’t always be a realistic option. So, rather than firing up the car and spending a good hour wading through rush hour traffic every morning on your way to work, why not switch up your commute? This is particularly relevant in London, where trains from East Croydon to Norwood Junction are running constantly and provide faster and cleaner transport.

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Travelling by train might be uncommon for some but making the change will surely be worth it in the long run. Travelling by train allows you to take care of the environment and save money. Moreover, train travel can be a great way to meet new people and appreciate the views in your locality.

3. Go paperless

It’s never been easier to lead a completely paperless life thanks to the digitization of most sectors and data. You’d be surprised how much paper is possible to get through if you’re not careful. The vast majority of services, however, now give you the option to go paperless.

It’s often as simple as logging on to your bank accounts or your energy provider accounts and ticking a box. You can also help the cause a little further by ensuring you recycle all the paper and card you have already used and only printing off hard copies of documents when it’s 100% necessary.

It’s easy for anyone to start going paperless. If you usually receive your bills through physical mail, reach out to your service provider and have your bills emailed to you. You can also go paperless at work by encouraging your colleagues to send out emails for communication instead of printing documents regularly.

4. Avoid bottled water

Green living doesn’t always have to be difficult. Sometimes, it can even save you money! There is absolutely no legitimate reason to continue buying bottled water in this day and age. Plastic is a blight on our environment like no other and bottled water creates more plastic than almost any other product on earth.

water-filtration-systems

A water filter is a cheap and elegant way to filter out any of the potential chemicals and contaminants that might make your tap water seem like a less attractive option. And think of all the money you’ll save, too! Oh, and while you’re at it, ditching plastic bags is something you should really be looking into, as currently, only around 3% of the world’s plastic bags are being recycled!

If you want to take it up a notch, carry a water tumbler inside reusable cotton bags, such as those from calico-bags.com.au. You should always bring reusable bags when you step out of your house because these will enable you to carry your purchases with ease and save money from buying plastics every time you buy something.

Conclusion

Incorporating eco-friendly habits to your life can be challenging at first, but if you want to preserve the environment and ensure that it continues to provide for your needs, you should be willing to make the change. Your efforts will surely go a long way to improve or maintain the condition of the environment!

5 Environmental Effects of COVID-19

Even the gravest of occurrences have some silver linings, and COVID-19, in all of its dreariness, has been pretty good to Mother Earth. There have been some negative drawbacks, but on the whole, the environment is one thing that has actually been positively affected by the novel coronavirus. Stay-at-home orders mean less cars on the road, and social distancing means less people at national parks and beaches in need of a good cleaning. A study now published in The Lancet Planetary Health journal went as far as to say, “In China alone, all of these air quality improvements that have outnumbered confirmed [COVID-19-related] deaths thus far.”

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Here is a closer look at 5 positive environmental impacts caused by COVID-19.

1. Environmentally Friendly Infrastructure

With many citizens greatly limiting their travel, cities and states alike have been upgrading their transportation systems (trains, cars, planes, etc.). At a quick glance, a reasonable response to that would be, “Nice, better roads,” but fortunately, with advances in infrastructure resilient to climate change, it also means structures made with environmentally friendly materials, reduced waste, and made renewable-resource-ready, depending on the locale.

Some jurisdictions with a bit less of a “convinced” mindset towards climate change do, however, have a lot of legal loopholes in place regarding renewable energy, but at least making structures ready to switch power when the law allows is something to breath easy about (literally).

2. Lowered Emissions

As touched on in the intro, limited travel and social distancing have been large parts of increased air quality across the globe. Even NASA satellites have produced photographic evidence of less smog in urban areas.

As many large businesses in these large cities are becoming aware of the positive effects (both socially and monetarily) of corporate social responsibility, it’s also reasonable to think that many corporations will take into account all of the positives that come with remote work, and maximize opportunities do so in a world where going green is as good for the trees as it is the bottom line.

3. Moral Awareness / Disaster Relief

Most natural disasters affect those who can actually see the destruction first-hand much more deeply than people who just see pictures and videos. With a truly global pandemic affecting everyone on Earth, the overall will to “help a neighbor” has been tried and true during the COVID-19 wave. Some places just had much better disaster preparedness practices than others, and where there were shortages in one area, and excess in another, the right moves were made.

Only time will tell if optimism turns to reality, but thinking that the global reach of this disaster and the “all in this together” mantra will lead to more disaster relief for issues some people may not be familiar with (hurricanes, tornados, famine, earthquakes, etc.) is definitely beyond reasonable.

4. Clean Beaches

Over the last 10 years, roughly 60 million Americans visit a beach per year. Couple that with coastal population booms, and it’s safe to say the sand in the United States gets a lot of foot traffic. Though the lack of tourism certainly hurt the economy, it gave the beaches a long overdue break, resulting in massive decreases in coastal pollution, deep beach cleans by locals, and increases in water quality.

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5. A Little Bad with the Good

With closures of schools and a lot of work places, brought with it closures of some recycling centers, resulting in a lot of recyclables being trashed. The increases in online deliveries are certainly sensible, but they, too, added to an uptick in waste production, due to packaging. Additionally, medical waste (including masks and gloves) experienced a steady uptick as well.

Ultimately, the environmental effects of COVID-19 are things we can take a bit of resolve in, as pretty much everything else has been affected negatively by the pandemic. Increases in air and water quality should continue to be steady, new infrastructure with renewable resources now exist and just need some legislative boosts in areas, a lot of public places that needed a good cleaning have gotten it, and the only negatives on this list involve human actions that can be adjusted, moving forward.