Sustainable economy, what is it?
The sustainable economy seeks to increase social welfare while promoting sustainable consumption through a financial system based on green businesses. Either through the transformation of existing ones or by creating new businesses. It aims to reduce poverty and ensure quality development for present and future generations, without compromising the health of the planet, i.e. without consuming more than nature generates.
The development of a sustainable economy in any territory involves policies aimed at promoting the use of sustainable energy sources, fostering competitiveness in sustainable activities and investing in innovation and education. According to the 2011 Sustainable Economy Law, we understand sustainable economy as “a pattern of growth that reconciles economic, social and environmental development in a productive and competitive economy, that favours quality jobs, equal opportunities and social cohesion, and that guarantees respect for the environment and the rational use of natural resources in a way that allows needs to be met”.
Why is a sustainable economy necessary?
The advocates of a sustainable economy base their arguments on the environmental forecasts for the coming decades, which, according to experts, are not very positive.m In this sense, the data on the ecological footprint for the future are not very flattering. Those who promote sustainable economy advocate the use of renewable energies such as wind, solar, hydraulic and geothermal energy, to extend the life of the products we consume, second-hand purchases, rental of single-use objects, etc. Preserving the planet’s resources, consuming only seasonal foods, recycling, avoiding plastics, pollution, etc. In this way, the survival of future generations can be guaranteed and, in addition, as it is a model of sustainable development, it is also a model of sustainable development.
But we also have detractors, who are those who feel comfortable or are accustomed to a capitalist economic system, which is the one that currently governs the West, who consider a sustainable economy unrealistic. They believe that it is a production model that is doomed to failure from the outset, due to the inability to supply all the needs of today’s world population.
Characteristics of a sustainable economy
The development of a sustainable economy in any territory involves the development of policies aimed at promoting the use of sustainable energy sources, fostering the competitiveness of green businesses and investing in innovation and development.
Thus, this socioeconomic system is governed by the following fundamental axes:
- Environmental protection: preserving the planet’s biodiversity, minimizing the impact of pollution and fighting against climate change.
- Use of renewable energies: promote the use of alternative sources of energy that do not pollute and minimize the impact on the environment.
- Commitment to efficiency: make the most of the resources we have and take care of scarce resources, such as water, which will allow us to achieve another pillar of economic sustainability, which is efficiency.
- Promoting recycling: establishing a circular economy model in which the waste generated is used to create new products, thus reducing the ecological toll of the current production system.
- Limiting consumption: limiting the use of renewable resources so that they are not used at a higher rate than they are generated. Furthermore, non-renewable resources must be progressively replaced by renewable resources.
- Improve the social standard of living: promote, through education and innovation, equality among people in all territories.
Among the measures that can be implemented by public bodies, we can find the premiums and subsidies to new sustainable economic sectors such as clean energy, or the support to ecological business models. In addition, we must promote the recycling of all kinds of waste, the application of energy efficiency and conservation techniques in all areas of the economy and the promotion of the circular economy as well as new models of more sustainable cities.
The current society is unsustainable, as it consumes resources at a higher rate than nature generates, therefore the relationship between economy and sustainability is very close, if the energy needed for a society comes from resources that are not sustainable, they will become more and more expensive because of their scarcity and that can lead to geopolitical and economic imbalances in the medium and long term.
In Catalonia, and specifically in Manresa, the Ecoviure fair is held every year to show the novelties of a sustainable economy.
This fair was born in 1997 with the intention of serving as a meeting point for people and professionals who, from different fields, work for the environmental, social and economic sustainability of the planet. The fair lasts three days and brings together traders, sustainability technicians, entrepreneurs and government representatives interested in learning about new developments in the green economy.
They can find stands of food products, renewable energies, household products, water treatment or textile products.
There is also an edition for children and families, with the aim of spreading the values of ecology and sustainability, with activities to experiment, play and learn. There are also several workshops and proposals for the youngest children. They need to become aware that we need to move towards a more supportive, fair and respectful society towards the environment.
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