Green Economy – does it include you?


It is commendable that the the government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) has plans for a green economy as was shown in the supplementary spread in the Post Courier to commemorate the World Environment day on June 5, 2012.  It is an ambitious plan for PNG to boldly state that she will reduce her in-country emission by 50% in the year 2030, but I guess having an ambitious plan is better than having no plan at all.

I read the supplement from cover to cover but to my disappointment there were no options for green development for me and my household. Being conscious of my carbon footprint an wanting to reduce it, I am eager to participate in the green development. After all, forestry and agriculture is the biggest source of emission in PNG with subsistence agriculture contributing 28-43% of emission. My family still depend to some extent on landuse activities to support our livelihood.

That got me thinking, what would the compounded energy use of average PNG families like mine be like in 2030?  The PNG population has doubled in just twenty years between the year 1980 and 2000. From that, let us assume that population doubles every 20 years for PNG. By 2030, population would have more than doubled from the current 6/7 million. What percentage of the families in the year 2030 would have access to green energy and what percentage would be still depending on nature for their energy needs? The low carbon activities encouraged by the government though commendable are still too technology-intensive for individual families.

So how can families be meaningfully included in a green economy? One option is for families to bring back the three R’s. Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Searches on the internet revealed that recover and rebuy have been added to the list of the R’s bring the R’s to 6.

Reducing consumption prevents wastage in the first place. It is the most preferred method of waste management and goes a long way toward protecting the environment. Waste prevention means consuming and throwing away less.

Items can be reused by repairing them, donating them to charity, or selling them. This also reduces waste. Reusing products, when possible, is better than recycling because the item does not need to be reprocessed before it can be used again.

Recycling transforms materials that would otherwise become waste into valuable resources. Furthermore, recycling generates environmental, financial, and social benefits. In other countries, materials like glass, metal, plastics, and paper are collected, separated and sent to facilities that can process them into new materials or products.

In order to make recycling economically feasible, we must buy recycled products and packaging. When we buy recycled products, we create an economic incentive for recyclable materials to be collected, manufactured, and marketed as new products. Remember, you’re not recycling unless you’re buying recycled products.

At the same time, as we plan for emission reduction activities for industries, we should not underestimate the power of little changes that families can participate in. After all families are at the base of the pyramid from where businesses are built. A changed mindset starting from families can pay great dividends in business as individuals make decision based on what is good for them as well as for the environment.


1 Comment

  1. Filiberto Cuch said,

    July 24, 2012 at 8:12 am

    Recycled products are also great. In fact, we must always concentrate on recycled producs so that we can help our environment. “””

    Best regards“>

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