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How You Can Support a Green Economy and “Invest In Our Planet”

This Earth Day we’re facing a brutal truth: people are exhausted and climate-related issues are not currently top of mind. We’re in the midst of a shaky global economy, a still-rampaging pandemic and its physical and mental impacts, and oh did I mention the increasing threat of World World III?

I’m exhausted just writing that paragraph. But I’m here to remind you that there is hope, and that taking action this Earth Day is more important than ever. And in this blog, I’ll outline exactly how to get started in making an environmental difference without dedicating your life to dealing with all the world’s problems.

The fact of the matter is, climate is deeply ingrained in nearly every political issue facing the world today. We can’t talk about the global economy without talking about food insecurity risks associated with a changing climate, water security, etc. Conversations about the pandemic are ingrained with discussions about sustainability, particularly in gender equity and inclusion of people of color as particularly women are hit the hardest by the Covid-19. And we’re already feeling the effects of a fossil-fuel dependent economy as we face the energy crisis brought on by the brutal war and humanitarian disaster in Europe.

This Year’s Earth Day Theme: “Invest In Our Planet”

It seems ever so fitting that this year’s Earth Day theme is “Invest in Our Planet” and highlights the role businesses, individuals, and governments play as a partnership in ensuring the long-term prosperity for us and the planet. My interpretation of this year’s theme is that mitigating climate change and tackling our environmental and social problems are all within our reach if we work together. No one individual, government, or even country can tackle the climate crisis (and associated crises) on our own.

There’s no magic bullet, but taking action in the place that drives the most change – our bank accounts, by building a “green economy,” is a major focus.

What Is A “Green” Economy? 

A green economy envisions economic growth and development in line with environmental and social well-being. A prime principal of the green economy is that natural resources and people are no longer just cogs in the capitalist machine – they are to be preserved, respected, and integrated in a way that actually improves our overall economy long-term. A green economy invests in sectors like renewable energy, low-carbon transport and production, sustainable agriculture and forestry, and energy-efficient buildings.

“Our challenge is to upgrade the infrastructure and raise the standards, to begin greening the economy and protecting our fragile and unique ecosystem, national heritage and identity.”

There are already several global case studies showcasing the benefits of investing in a green economy, but the concept isn’t perfect.

A green economy doesn’t tackle the reality that there will be “losers” and losses in the transition to an economy that does good. It will not be attainable without tough negotiations, conflict, and resistance. 

This is why companies, consumers, investors, and governments play a critical role in recognizing that our climate and social crises are bad for business and bad for the lives of all people.

How do we do this? By thinking as a collective “green team” together as governments, citizens, and businesses/innovators.

Players On The “Green Team”

Your first step in aligning with this month’s Earth Day theme is to identify which player(s) you are and what unique power and position you hold within them. It is up to all three sectors to harness the power of their individual change, and the growing green financial markets to extract value for ourselves and the planet while driving green innovation.

Innovative Governments / Policymakers

Policymakers have a responsibility to create a fair economic system that is in the public interest and supports a green economy.

Innovative Individual Citizens

As voters and consumers, individual citizens are responsible for taking actions that align with their beliefs, holding other players accountable and to support their efforts when they get it right.

Innovative Investors, Business Professionals

Whether you’re in a small or large organization, investors and business professionals, including entrepreneurs, have a huge role in following green policy, doing the right thing for customers, and innovating towards the sustainable technologies.

Ask yourself – What power do you hold in your respective position as multiple players in the “green team?” 

Then even more importantly, identify the sustainable sectors that matter the most to you.

It’s human nature to want to block out all the bad happening in the world, because we often feel powerless. As a business owner, policy maker, small business owner, or whatever – you don’t have to solve every single problem the world faces. 

There are tons of sustainable niches you can employ action in including:

Must I go on? 

And news flash – every single “niche” requires every single player to act TOGETHER, and has wide-reaching impacts beyond its initial scope. 

For example, increasingly strict governmental policy towards an economy that reduces or eliminates waste (a circular economy), driven by consumer demand and resource scarcity, not only is forcing businesses to reduce their waste, but also contributes to more ethical production of goods. A circular economy also empowers the local economy by prioritizing local supply chains in addition to reducing ecological resource strain, etc.

This is all while increasing efficiencies in their supply chain which WHAT? – Saves businesses money, increases efficiency, and mitigates risk.

How Can I Take Action This Earth Day?

You know better than me. Start with what players you are and what you care about, then go from there! Individual, small actions collectively add up towards more meaningful change. But the important next step is – thinking about how you can engage and partner with other players to drive that change. 

If you’re focusing on being a more active consumer for example, inform yourself on how to vote for better environmental and social governmental policies. Think about how you can partner with businesses who share your values by buying more locally, supporting minority-owned brands, shopping in season, etc. And think about how you can engage other consumers, by sharing positive and empowering messages on social media or even joining local organizations.

The possibilities are endless,but not possible without collaboration. 

We’re All Imperfect, But Together We Can Make A Difference

Because life seems to be increasingly stressful and chaotic, I leave you on a final note – you’re not perfect, and that’s okay. You’re going to make mistakes as a player on the “green team.” You’re going to have to sacrifice one thing for another. You’re going to have conflict with other players, and you’re going to have to choose partnerships wisely. The important thing is – you try. It’s easy to think collaboration is impossible when you see the conflict in the news cycle, but look around in your own world, the real world, and I promise that you’ll find more open doors. 

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