Right now, our world is in crisis. As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on and extreme weather and forest fires tear across the world, it can be hard to feel hopeful about the future. We are battling a global pandemic, which is also causing tremendous economic hardship, while continuing to see the consequences of climate change.
In discussions about the economy and climate change, we’re often given an either/or scenario. Either we fix the economy and continue to pollute the environment, or we pull back and focus on sustainability, slowing down economic recovery and growth.
Here’s the thing, though. The two goals don’t have to be at odds with one another! We can absolutely protect the planet and the global economy at the same time. How? Let’s take a look.
The Economy & Environment Connection
In the past, the economy has grown rapidly in large part due to the reckless use of natural resources. Our planet is rich in all kinds of incredible natural materials, animals, and plants. But as we’ve used those resources, we’ve surpassed their ability to replenish. In the near future, without any intervention, growth will be stopped not because of sustainable initiatives, but because we didn’t implement them fast enough.
The economy relies on a healthy environment for success. Large corporations intent on continuing business, as usual, can deny this, but it’s a looming threat we can’t ignore. Not only will natural resources become depleted, but weather effects from climate change will have an impact on the workforce and our infrastructure, with billions of dollars in losses and economic slowdown from natural disasters. This shows why corporate social responsibility is so important in today’s day and age.
Sustainability within the supply chain is undoubtedly complex. But if we want a strong, stable economy and a healthy environment that supports a comfortable life for people, animals, and plants, then we have to urgently start thinking about the economy and environment connection. Changes in the way businesses operate, when combined with individual sustainability, could make a big difference in fighting climate change and building a strong economy.
Choosing Sustainable Food Options Can Go a Long Way
In the United States, food waste and unsustainable food habits are wreaking havoc on the environment and resulting in lots of lost economic opportunity. People are going hungry while food is tossed in landfills, creating new environmental hazards and wasting money for farmers and retailers.
Sustainable food actions will be key in cutting down on waste and preventing issues like overfishing. Consumers can do their part by choosing responsibly-sourced meat, buying sustainable fish, and cutting down on their animal protein consumption. Choosing produce that might otherwise be thrown away and using vegetables like scallions to grow new produce are other good habits that are simple to implement.
There are other signs of hope. Some produce that would otherwise be thrown away is given to food banks or sold as imperfect produce in subscription boxes or at open-air markets. Expanding these options could reduce the amount of food that is thrown away.
Looking to Keep Helping? Use Social Media to Advocate to Friends
Lots of people are feeling very disheartened about both the economy and the environment. Many others feel that you can’t focus on one without damaging the other. You can help to rally your friends and family and educate them about how much we can do as individuals, as a country, and as a globe.
Social media isn’t always a healthy place. But by advocating for sustainability, you can generate interest and enthusiasm for positive changes that will make a difference. Many businesses are already using social media to promote important causes.
Save Money & The Planet by Saving Energy
We use far more energy than we need to, both at home and in the workplace. Individuals and corporations alike can save money by cutting down on energy use and looking into more sustainable energy options.
If you can, upgrading your home to be more efficient is one of the best things you can do to save energy now and in the future. Installing solar panels, getting more efficient appliances, and switching out your windows could save you hundreds each year. Your budget might limit you on ways you can save energy, but everyone can make little changes, like using reusable bottles or unplugging appliances when not in use.
Businesses need to get on board, investing in green and sustainable solutions for their offices and production facilities. Not only will this reduce their energy bill, but it will make a meaningful difference in the future of our planet. It’s time to stop pretending that we have to choose the environment or the economy. We can have both—and ultimately, we can’t have one without the other.
Saboor Ahmad works as a blogger at http://forupon.com