The UN is reporting “Good News” for our environment but much more needs to be done
New technologies and renewable energies make it possible. In fact, a lot has happened in the last few years. Southern India for example, now has the first all-solar airport in the world. India’s southern states are experiencing the highest economic developments of the world, simply because of solar energy. Or look to the United States, where there are five times more jobs in solar than in coal.
Speaking about Sustainable Development Goals — protecting life on land — the UNEP chief stated that China had recently prohibited all trading in ivory;
“Very important because it stops the market for those killing elephants in Africa.”
Indonesia has reduced deforestation across its peatlands by close to 90 per cent. Peat is partially decayed, dead vegetation, which stores enormous amounts of carbon and, among other things, soaks up water — helping to mitigate flooding — during wet season and releases water during dry season. This is in fact a “huge, huge achievement”, as Mr. Solheim said.
“Rwanda, Botswana and African nations are also doing very, very well with wildlife protection efforts.”
But still, it is not adding up to being sufficient for the planet. We need to do a lot more. A good movement is coming from the UN Environment department. They work with governments, civil society and businesses, to turn protecting nature into a business opportunity, which benefits all. Renewable energies have huge potential for global economy and environmental protection.
A great example is coming from Rwanda. They charge tourists. They have to pay $1,500 dollars per person to view its protected mountain gorillas, whose population is now rising. Acknowledging the large cost, they created a fantastic economy for Rwanda. Also taxi drivers, school teachers and even hotel waiters profit from each tourist. Finally, the people around the national park will be the first to defend the gorillas. Simply because their livelihood depends on it.
For sure “great news” but much more needs to be done. Huge efforts are needed for all life below the water. The UN shared a story of a dying whale in Thailand that had swallowed 80 plastic bags. Individuals and governments have to take actions now in response to such examples of environmental destruction.
India for example, has promised to phase out all one-use plastic bags by 2022. The European Union has announced a new strategy to use plastics in a more environmentally safe and sustainable way. Chile’s parliament has also taken strong action against plastic. Even Kenya, Eritrea and Rwanda have all promised to take more action. Which is great.
There is a strong movement of people and businesses who say, “We want to change”. Let’s keep this momentum and realize more good ideas. Linking sustainable tourism with economic opportunities, jobs, development and sustainable energy is for sure the way forward.
“The only way we can really protect the planet is at the same time, provide opportunities to people who are living on this planet.”
Let’s just do it. Now!