Green Economy Green Economy 101

Green Economy 101

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A Green Economy is a clean, environmentally friendly economy that promotes health, wealth, and well-being.

A Green Economy is dependent on sustainable development – which means growing our economies in ways that benefit, not sacrifice, social justice and equity as well as the environment. The idea is to serve the needs of the present without threatening the quality of life of future generations.

Building a Green Economy is not about throwing out the old system and starting from scratch, it’s about making choices according to the full cost – not just the financial cost – of any and all activities.

What do we mean by “full cost”? How about an example:

  • Intensive logging can seem attractive because it yields a high profit.
  • In a ‘brown’ economy, the cost of cutting down a forest only includes the cost of buying the land, hiring labour, purchasing machinery and tools, and manufacturing a final product.
  • In a Green Economy, the full cost of cutting down a forest includes damage to habitats and biodiversity, reduction in carbon-storing tree cover, loss of the social and cultural value of the forest, as well as the inability of future generations to reap these and other benefits from the forest. Under the Green Economy model, then, it makes economic sense to manage the forest sustainably rather than cut it down all at once so as to maintain these non-financial benefits.

So what does this mean for citizens?

As a consumer, you have something called ‘buying power’. This means that every time you make a purchase, you signal to the worldwide market what your buying preferences are.

When you choose a sustainable product – such as sustainably harvested timber products – you send the message to producers that they will need to transition to sustainable practices in order to win you over as a potential customer. When you encourage your friends, family, and greater community to support sustainable products, you make an even greater impact!  GreenUp!

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