There’s enough consensus about how sustainability is key to fighting climate change. But, apart from benefiting the environment and creating hope for the future human survival, how does a green economy change life & livelihood?
Switching to eco-friendly techniques requires rethinking and changing consumption and disposition methods, many of which take time, effort and commitment to implement. Now, as we look to restructure businesses and focus policy on climate consciousness, new skill sets and knowledge will be required to transform economies. In doing so, will becoming climate neutral impact threaten employment and livelihoods in the future?
The International Labour Organization states that shifting to a green economy could generate 24 million new jobs globally by 2030 with the right policies in place. Globally, 1.2 billion jobs rely on a healthy environment. Industries like agriculture, fisheries, forestry, tourism and pharmaceuticals depend on natural environmental processes. Rising temperatures and environmental degradation hurts jobs and working conditions. In fact, ILO also predicts that by 2030, 72 million full-time jobs will be lost, as temperature increases will lead to shorter work hours. According to another ILO report in 2018, transitioning to a green economy could create 3.8 million jobs by 2030 in India in the renewable energy sector alone, which employed 432,000 people in 2017, an increase of 16 per cent over 2016. It also revealed that employment generation would stem from adopting sustainable practices including changes in the energy mix, projected growth in the use of electric vehicles, and increases in energy efficiency in existing and future buildings.
Eco India, a joint venture between Scroll.in and DW, sheds some light on this phenomenon in its newly launched sixth season. Environment-friendly techniques have not only promoted development and well-being of regions and communities across India, but also employed and empowered thousands to live better lives sustainably, grow and lead the movement of change. Take a look at some of the stories covered in the 6th season of Eco India.
1. Meet Parvathi Nagarajan, hailing from a family of traditional healers in Tamil Nadu, who dedicated her life to the conservation of herbs and reviving herbal knowledge. Through awareness and training, she created 32 women self-help groups and trained them to earn livelihoods through herbal remedies as micro entrepreneurs.
2. For Bengaluru’s migrants living in informal settlements riddled with hardships, even natural lighting and ventilation are a luxury. By training women from these settlements to become clean energy entrepreneurs or ‘suryamukhis’, The Pollinate Group is improving the lives of many by selling and promoting the usage of solar lights and cooking appliances.
3. With India’s handloom sector facing a steady decline, many weavers were out of jobs and had to fight for survival. Delhi-based Paiwand Studio stepped up by employing traditional weavers to make fashion sustainable by upcycling textile waste into fabric yarn.
3. In the fishing town of Mandapa, seaweed cultivation created large scale livelihood avenues for over 1500 families and led to reverse migration. Additionally, seaweed being excellent for carbon sequestration, cultivating the algae also helped the residents actively fight climate change while improving their own lives.
Indeed, making the shift to sustainable ways of production, governance and lifestyle will require learning and unlearning, upskilling and hard work. But with a watertight resolve backed by scientific knowledge, innovation and technological advancement, the dream of becoming climate neutral can be fulfilled while simultaneously ushering in new opportunities promising a better tomorrow.
Click here to watch all episodes of Eco India Season 6.