The world is changing and I’m not just talking about the technological advancements that dominate the world today. We also can’t deny the fact that too much technology is damaging our environment. Climate change is no longer just a threat but a reality that we all face. If you are observant enough, you’d notice how natural calamities have intensified over the years. Storms have gotten stronger and droughts longer. But whose fault is it anyway?
However, enough with the finger pointing. We are all responsible for the gradual destruction of our planet. While the damage has been done and we can’t undo our past mistakes, we can still change now and salvage as much as we can on what is left. Every good deed we do can go a long way in protecting and preserving Mother Nature. Using sustainable energy is the best, easiest and most cost-effective recourse we now have, so why not start at home?
The global community has been trying to achieve sustainable development for the past 25 years, but the world is faring poorly against most environmental indicators. What’s causing this failure? Griffith University’s Michael Howes investigates.
In 1992, more than 170 countries came together at the Rio Earth Summit and agreed to pursue sustainable development, protect biological diversity, prevent dangerous interference with climate systems, and conserve forests. But, 25 years later, the natural systems on which humanity relies continue to be degraded.
So why hasn’t the world become much more environmentally sustainable despite decades of international agreements, national policies, state laws and local plans?
These are the probable culprits why we can’t still move forward with our sustainability initiatives:
So what’s going wrong with sustainability initiatives? We found that three types of failure kept recurring: economic, political and communication.
The economic failures stem from the basic problem that environmentally damaging activities are financially rewarded. A forest is usually worth more money after it’s cut down – which is a particular problem for countries transitioning to a market-based economy.
Political failures happen when governments can’t or won’t implement effective policies. This is often because large extractive industries, like mining, are dominant players in an economy and see themselves as having the most to lose. This occurs in developed and developing countries, but the latter can face extra difficulties enforcing policies once they’re put in place.
Communication failures centre on poor consultation or community involvement in the policy process. Opposition then flourishes, sometimes based on a misunderstanding of the severity of the issue. It can also be fed by mistrust when communities see their concerns being overlooked.
Despite the odds, there are still efforts to embrace this sustainable living wherever in the world you may be. There is still hope to save the planet and everyone else living in it.
A new United Nations-backed report has revealed overwhelming consensus that renewable power will dominate in the future, with many experts saying that even large international corporations are increasingly choosing renewable energy products either from utilities or through direct investment in their own generating capacity.
“[The report] is meant to spur discussion and debate about both the opportunities and challenges of achieving a 100 per cent renewable energy future by mid-century,” said Christine Lins, the Executive Secretary of Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) – a global renewable energy policy multi-stakeholder network hosted by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
“Wishful thinking won’t get us there; only by fully understanding the challenges and engaging in informed debate about how to overcome them, can governments adopt the right policies and financial incentives to accelerate the pace of deployment,” she added.
At a press conference at UN Headquarters today, Ms. Lins said that 2016 was the third year in a row where the global economy continued to grow, by three per cent, but emissions related to the energy sector decreased. And that was mainly due to renewable energy and efficiency investment in China and in the United States.
We need a collective effort to help realize this dream. Let us all remember that we are not doing this for a monetary gain but to save the very planet where we live in. If we continue abusing the environment and not find a way to reduce our carbon footprint (with airlines as well), what will be the Earth like ten to twenty years from now? Will it still be livable? Back in the days, we did not have to buy water or air, but now, purified water is the only form of safe drinking water in many countries and air conditioning units are a must in many households once the summer heat strikes.
Let us take accountability for our actions. One of the best ways we can protect Mother Nature and prevent further environmental degradation is through the use of sustainable energy. Fossil fuel will not last us forever. Just how many dead dinosaurs can we get power from? There’s the sun. Each day its shining rays can fuel homes and cities. Wherever the wind blows, there is also energy. Even water can be exhausted in a way that generates power. The government should look into all these things but we also have a personal obligation to keep. By simply reducing our energy use and recycling our trash we already contribute a lot to saving the planet.