The Green Jobs in the Green Economy Online Forum kicked off on October 14th with special guest speakers from the Sustainable Lifestyles Programme team at the UN Environment Division. Student representatives from around the world learned about how sustainable lifestyles are the foundation of developing a green economy; the roles and responsibilities of business owners, policy-makers, and consumers; and what should/can we do about it. (Thanks, Laura Astudillo Mesías, Başak Şendoğan and Michelle Bender!)
With this overarching understanding of why and how to develop a green economy, our Forum's end goal is to help shift people's mindsets so that sustainable options will become THE obvious choice for living, working and developing. To start things off, the first question we asked the Forum participants was: "how does the green economy create jobs and economic growth in your country of origin? One of the best responses came from Aarna Sharma, Strawberry Fields High School, India:
"The country I originate from is India. As per a report by the World Economic Forum, India can leverage green growth to add $1 trillion to GDP by 2030 – and as much as $15 trillion by 2070.... The Economic Times (says) that India is estimated to create about 30 million green jobs by 2050.... the city I live in, its Administration breaks down harmful or no longer used buildings and use that material to create tiles, practicing sustainability and making job opportunities and helping with the economic growth. There are also two students that I know who have their own brand in which they reuse material and turn it into fashionable clothes thus increasing job opportunities....However, critics argue that there are problems with the green economy such as weak management, increasing poverty... The change of economic policies is one of the biggest issues at hand. What are the general strategies for issues like sustainability or poverty and how effective have they been?"
Are sustainable options too expensive? This week, we ask the participants to investigate how companies address sustainability in their assigned industry for environmental and economic impact. Can businesses secure customers and provide good products while protecting the environment?