Green Mindsets/Habits: Critical Component of Growing Green & Green Economies

Guest Post by Aarya Nijat, WB-SAES Youth Delegate from Afghanistan

The term “green Economy” was coined in 1989. Yet, more than two decades later, not much of practical contribution has been made. For instance the Rio+20 documents provided varieties of definitions of green economy but almost nothing on how to operationalize this concept. What should be done in real life to practically address this issue? So we have been talking about it all this long, in thought provoking ways, no doubt. Is it because our priorities are different? Is it because we don’t consider this mandatory to care for environment?

Shafqat Munir from Oxfam Pakistan paused over our capacity to question existing patterns of practice, lack of policy focus on this issue reflected in limited government representation at this summit, and the need to educate people and help them change their habits of engagement with energy and environment.

Land grabbing and handing them over to industries is one pattern that must be questioned and stopped before it is too late. The need to create interdependence between and integrate social policy with economic development in a way that governments take responsibility for the reorientation of this focus, and create a regional framework using SAARC that pushes for educating people in all South Asian countries to consciously work on changing our individual and social patterns of engagement with the environment. Though corruption in the public sector remains to be a challenge; there are many regulations in place, but large-scale public corruption prevents enforcement.

Nitya Nanda one of the participants in the session said: “You don’t see young people walking or jogging in parks; people come to jog and walk when the doctor tells them they will die if they don’t. The earth has reached that stage and we must realize that. To ask whether this is a priority or not is a misplaced question. Our attitude is superficial in nature. We are superficial in how we treat being green. One chief minister in an attempt to be green made a law to paint all houses green. Or we grow crops to have a green look, but we don’t focus on changing our habits to green.”

We cannot have green economies unless we have green mindsets. There is need for increased technological investment in agriculture, said Dr. Vohra. But projects that promote growing trees by paying farmers can be even destructive, in the long run, because it creates financial dependency and does not serve the goal of changing habits or mindsets. We need to think green to be able to act green.

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