In June 2012, over 140 heads of states and government representatives from around the world came together at the Brazilian city of Rio for a conference on protecting the environment and deliberating on issues to better the earth.
During the meetings, representatives around the world harped on the need to protect and preserve the environment and the transition to a green economy.
This is reflected on number 39 and 40 of the outcome of the Rio deliberations: “We recognise that planet Earth and its ecosystems are our home and that Mother Earth is a common expression in a number of countries and regions, and we note that some countries recognize the rights of nature in the context of the promotion of sustainable development. We are convinced that in order to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations, it is necessary to promote harmony with nature.
“We call for holistic and integrated approaches to sustainable development that will guide humanity to live in harmony with nature and lead to efforts to restore the health and integrity of the Earth’s ecosystem.”
This simply goes to show that leaders world over believe that the rights of nature must be preserved to balance the economic, social and environmental needs of the present and future generations for sustainable development.
Apart from resolutions from Rio+20 summits, other environmentalists are still continuously meeting to fashion out ways to conserve and preserve the environment. One of such is the Low carbon Earth summit slated for October, 2012, in China.
The summit is expected to bring policy makers, NGO leaders, economists, investors, engineers, scientists, industrial leaders, carbon traders, and brokers, clean emerge producers, energy consumers, toward daily low carbon life practitioners and advocators, etc., together to discuss more practical perspectives on green economy, promotion of sustainable or renewable energy, and exhibit technical resolutions to solve and predict the existing issues.
From the premises above, it is clear that the earth is the only common feature that connects nations the world over and that it must be preserved and protected before any meaningful development can take place.
In its stride to initiate moves to conserve the environment, Nigeria joined its contemporaries worldwide to mark the World Environmental Day, with the theme: “Green Economy: How Are We Connected”.
During the conference, experts came together to fashion out ways to promote green economy in Nigeria.
In his keynote address, the President, Nigerian Environmental Society (NES), Engr. Olu Wai-Ogosu, said that a green economy can be thought of as one that is low in carbon emission, resource efficient and socially inclusive.
“The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) defines green economy as one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.
“Practically speaking, a green economy is one whose growth in income and employment is driven by public and private investments that reduce carbon emissions and pollution, enhances energy and resource efficiency, and prevents the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. These investments need to be catalysed and supported by targeted public expenditure, policy reforms and regulation changes,” he said.
Wai-Ogosu further noted that the world had become aware of the risks involved in the loss of biodiversity, climate change and desertification.
He highlighted that the world was still facing clear challenges despite the efforts of international organisations, nations and citizens.
“We must reverse the alarming loss of species, reduce and limit emissions of green house gases, degradation of air quality, preserve our ecosystems and minimise the ecological footprint, all in a growing tendency scenario of the global population as a whole, the worthy and necessary aspiration of eradicating poverty in the world and achieving decent full employment,” he added.
In his presentation, the Associate Professor, Director, Institute of Education, University of Abuja, Chibuzor Orji, described green economy as a generation based on renewable energy to substitute for fossil fuels and energy conservation for efficient energy use.
He opined that green economy must be locally rooted as a precondition to sustainability and justice.
“In other words, green economy is a global aggregate of individual communities meeting the needs of its citizens through responsible, local production and exchange of goods and services,” he added.
He posited that countries like Masdar City in the United Emirates, South Africa, France and Bangledish had initiated green based programmes towards entrenching green economy, noting that efforts to promote green economy were being undertaken in Kenya Mozanbique, Tanzania and Uganda.
The university don pointed out that transforming to a green economy and more eco-oriented society involved so many different factors in a bid to get the accruable benefits.
According to him, “It implies that governments need to take actions to protect the environment and encourage green technology in order to facilitate the pathways for good businesses and economy. The shift to green economy will result in new opportunities, more efficient and therefore, more financial savings and even a more productive, healthier spending.”
Orji said that developing countries like Nigeria could be said to be well positioned in the transition to a green economy given their low-carbon profile and rich natural capital and cultural assets.
“This is because these countries are generally characterized by relatively low investments in polluting technologies,” he stated.
He, however, lamented that these countries were equally more dependent on natural resources, making ecosystem degradation, resources scarcity and climate change particularly challenging to the economic survival of their populace.
He said that awareness of how efficient and cost effective eco living is should be the first step in the great transformation to a greener society.
“Therefore, we need aggressive sensitisation and orientation programmes to highlight the benefits of going green for the economy because green economy has become inevitable in view of glaring environmental hazards,” he said. He maintained that the goal and vision of a more eco-friendly society should be shared by all including Nigeria as a nation in a bid to enhance sustainability and integrity of our ecosystem,” he said.