A Green Economy for Survival of the Human RacePosted: June 23, 2024

The sheer destruction to businesses, economies, , and long established ways of life as a result of COVID-19 has demonstrated that we have to be better prepared for whatever comes our way. COVID-19 is a reminder that minute changes to an ecosystem or even a single organism can trigger world-wide catastrophes e.g. scientists think transmission of COVID-19 started from a single bat to a single pangolin. Climate change truly is real, and if left unchecked, will have astronomical devastating effects on humanity – such as our extinction. We don’t even know how swiftly these effects will occur, where or how. For instance, while plastic has been invaluable for PPE, the rates that they are being produced continue to contribute to climate change – therefore adding to the chance of our own destruction. Subsequently, if we face another pandemic, the use of plastics will only continue to increase. As such, alternatives to these types of products need to be developed for our own survival. The solution I see: A Green Economy

A Green Economy?

A green economy can be best described as structuring the economy that promotes sustainability, equity, green jobs, and environmental stewardship. We have already seen some aspects of a green economy emerge – such as the rise of renewable energy, plastic alternatives, and even 3D printing.

The association of a green economy with loss of jobs is very misleading, and in many ways, incorrect. While there is natural job loss with transition and/or crisis, a green economy certainly makes up for increases in jobs in equivalent industries and new industries. For instance, a recent American study found that there are 66% more jobs in the renewable industry compared to the fossil fuel industry. The good news does not end there. Canada’s renewable energy market contributes upwards of 60 billions of our GDP. While this may sound a lot of money, this is just a fraction of Canada’s true potential

Example: Electric Cars.


In the case of electric cars, despite 82% of our grid being from non-emitting sources (67% renewable), there is an absence of electric car manufacturing and electric cars in Canada.

In the case of the former, we can first bring said jobs to Canada by transitioning the oil industry component for domestic gas production into lithium ion extraction – the current source of electric batteries. To ensure environmental safety, we can use advanced filtration systems, 5G, the Internet of Things, and other technology to only extract the lithium ion. Next, the government can incentivize and prioritize job creation in green manufacturing similar to how the US prioritized military production during World War II. With this cycle perfected, Canada can then announce a transition plan in which all new cars will be electric. Further, Canada can push for the development of transforming lithium ion batteries into power storage – which ensures a circular cycle of batteries. By doing this, Canada will be creating jobs in manufacturing, battery development, technology, and more.

Once electric cars are the norm, there are significant benefits. First, an electric car brings greater economic benefits. How? An electric car saves Canada $7500, and there are 33 million cars in Canada. Moreover, assuming 1-1 replacement ratio, Canada would save 247 billion dollars a year, which could then be used more efficiently such as for health care, education reform, debt reduction, training programs and much more.

This example demonstrates that bringing a circular green economy in which we develop the manufacturing, development, the service, and other relevant components to Canada, will bring upon an economic boom. But again, electric cars are just the starting point of a green economy.

Conclusion

Other examples include the following:

1. Catching up to Europe and the US by placing development for 3D housing which can then be used for low income housing, cheaper housing, developing infrastructure in Canada’s North and selling our 3D printed infrastructure overseas

2. Cleaning up our waterways and forests to take part of the ever-growing eco-tourism industry which makes up 70 billion in global annual GDP.

3. To ensure fast transportation of green manufactured goods, work with companies such as Tesla to bring fast transportation to Canada.

4. Develop a strong STEAM sector that includes the Internet of Things, 5G, and Artificial Intelligence that can be used to monitor systems, develop new technology, and place Canada at a competitive advantage.

The possibilities of a green economy are endless thanks to Canada’s ability to attract a variety of businesses. The economic potential of a green economy is endless, and you, the customer will benefit. Why? Benefits of a green economy will ultimately bring more accessible transit, more bike paths, and more parks for natural oxygen and other benefits, which further benefit everyone. The possibilities are endless such as smart agricultural systems that ensure proper use of resources, canvas bags, clothing, ‘green’ medical supplies, and more. See, you do not have to worry, a Green Economy is good news.

This Union of Environment and Economy is Possible.

While you may think that the chances of the Green Economy succeeding is like The Last Jedi being universally liked, one way that a green economy can succeed is through the use of incentives. As much we may hate to admit, despite claims otherwise, humans are a relatively selfish species. However, it is this selfishness that will spark the Green Economy. If you want proof, check out the European Union who has spent around 4 trillion dollars on establishing and working with ‘climate banks’ such as GLS Bank that finances sustainable projects like Greenbox, which specializes in sustainable packaging. In addition, there are several other programs backed by the EU that aims to reward businesses to go green. [1] A similar model of incentives is obviously possible in Canada:

Say the government plans to ban plastics by a certain date. The governments then work together with the private sector (such as banks) to provide companies with incentives and grants to develop alternatives by that date – then the products compete at market.

Click here to learn more about my idea for a MaRS for Environmental Innovation.

So what does this all mean?

COVID 19 has shown us that our current way of life is unsustainable if we are to survive. We need to greenify the economy – and we need to start now? What does your green economy look like?

Our federal government is currently spending billions of dollars to re-start the economy and is looking hard at new public investments in “infrastructure” not seen since the Great Depression. Can this be a green, plastic-free recovery?

[1] https://mygoodplanet.com/eu-sustainability-grants/