There is no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on our lives. With the worrying rates of infection, mask requirements, social distancing measures, at-home offices, and the many more changes that we have had to make in our daily lives, it is not surprising to hear people wishing for things to get back to “normal.” After all, life during the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be quite difficult - despite being able to wear pajama pants during your Zoom conference calls! However, the pandemic has brought to the forefront the serious issues of racial injustice that we have in our systems.
While many people may have this thought of wanting to return to some sense of normalcy, it is important to realize that returning to the ways things were is really not what we want, considering the environmental crisis and social inequalities that are a part of our “before”. Instead of only focusing solely on rebuilding the economy, we must strive for a future that is both green and just. And now is the time to do it!
Worldwide green and just recoveries
In order to achieve a green and just economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, governments must kickstart a new economy that takes environmental and social issues into consideration when making policy and investment choices. This concept of a green and just recovery is relevant in many countries around the world. For example, the David Suzuki Foundation is working in coalition with many groups across Canada in order to advocate for a sustainable and equitable future for all. Other countries such as South Korea and Germany have already committed to a green recovery, while the European Union has pledged that their recovery plan will be in line with the European Green Deal.
Protect and restore nature
The David Suzuki Foundation has outlined three pillars of a green recovery for Canada. However, these pillars can apply to other countries as well, as they address fundamental issues associated with a green and just recovery. The first pillar is to protect and restore nature. Considering that we rely on the natural environment to supply us with clean air and water, food, and raw materials that are needed for manufacturing products, it is important to move towards a future that protects and restores natural habitat. Not only do humans benefit from the protection of natural resources, but protecting wilderness is really one of the best ways to protect wildlife as well. Governments can take action by considering the environment when dealing with new developments, industry reforms, and the creation of protected areas.
The second pillar that is important to consider in order to achieve a green and just recovery is the climate. Climate change is one of the largest issues of our time, making it an urgent issue that must be dealt with. As every country is dealing with the need to rebuild their economies, now is a great time to make sustainable and regenerative choices. Investing in green energy, creating sustainable jobs, reducing carbon emissions, and encouraging green buildings and transportation solutions are just some of the investments governments can make.
Transform the economy
Finally, the third pillar included in this model deals with transforming the economy in order to put people and the planet first. Current economic systems which measure success by GDP are not sufficient. Instead, we should be transforming into an economy that reduces inequality, values wellbeing, and is circular, producing zero waste. It is possible to find a sustainable economic model that values what we, as humans, value.
How can you get involved?
Try seeking out and signing petitions in your country that advocate for a green and just recovery. You may also wish to write an email or send a tweet to your local government representatives regarding this important issue. Additionally, it doesn’t hurt to get your message out there on social media by writing an engaging post or uploading a creative image. The time is now to take action for the future that we want!
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