The last few months of lockdown has brought a surprising side effect where carbon emission has been cut off significantly all over India. After months of economic slowdown though, India has been getting its strength back, and the emissions have begun to resurface as a result. Economic growth can not be slowed down on the other hand, in favour of CO2 emission-free India. But there is a better alternative that is making the rounds in different countries. ‘Green Recovery’, as it is called, is a set of measures taken to focus on rejuvenating the economy while ensuring that the environment does not suffer for it. Put forward by the International Energy Agency, the intention is to include the use of clean energy at the core of economic stimulation plans.
The path to recovering from the economic crisis can also be aimed at a micro-level in individual houses or a community. As a society people should understand what carbon-emission is, and how it can be reduced as part of daily life. Communities can actively participate via renewable energy management courses to help with that mission of reduced CO2 emission. Simply having a basic idea is not enough, and such courses will help people open up to how energy use among other things can contribute to CO2 emissions, as well as learn how to regulate that.
On a smaller scale, cleaner economic and environmental recovery has been practiced in countries like the USA and South Korea, implementing reforestation and improved irrigation, giving jobs and setting down roots for an improved environment.
Given India’s fight against pollution and climate change, while reinvigorating the economy, community leaders should take advantage of a management institution like the NTPC School of Business, that offers such energy project management courses to both students and leaders of the industry. Perhaps through this, a cleaner recovery can be achieved at a macro level throughout Indian society.
Why Choose Green Recovery For Carbon Emission Free
According to India’s Director General of Forests, Dr Sanjay Kumar, this is the right time to grab the chance. At a webinar on ‘Growing Back Greener’ held by the World Bank’s India office and IUCN, he also said that, “Evolution never happens in a uniform manner. Changes are cataclysmic, and it is these changes that bring about a change in the world order. This may be a period for such a change.”
With all the expenditure put into restoring landscapes, there is a potential to generate at least nine times in economic benefits. Ecological restoration is approximately a $9.5 billion industry in the US alone, employing over 1 lakh people and being indirectly responsible for generating more than $15 billion as well as around a lakh more jobs.
How Can It Help Free India Economically
Jobs can be created by including ecological restoration in vast public works programs –
The World Bank’s Community-Led Landscape Management Project is helping create jobs in Meghalaya while restoring the state’s forests and rejuvenating natural springs. This is being done while preserving the state’s unique natural heritage, the living root bridges, thereby promoting tourism to a degree.
As explained by Piyush Dogra, senior environmental specialist of the bank, “The lessons learnt are being scaled up under MNREGS and could serve as a model for other states.” This can be achieved by using a combined annual outlay of about $20 billion, from schemes like Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Guarantee Scheme and the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhyaan, forests can be restored, quality of pastures can be improved, while controlling erosion, sequestering atmospheric carbon and conserving biodiversity.
Migrants and tribals can be encouraged to set up forest-based enterprises – In recent times, there has been a rising demand for natural products. This demand can be met with the help of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises set up by returning migrants and tribals towards non-timber forest produce. Rather than importing rare produce from other states, these could be harvested and processed right at the home state to boost the economy.
Agriculture can benefit from reforestation – Erosion can be controlled thus improving the quality of the soil while ensuring that food, fodder, and medicinal produce can be harvested successfully.
As per Aditi Jha, an environmental consultant with the world bank, reforestation can help regulate sediments and improve the water flow, which will in turn help with agriculture, water supply, and promote hydropower. This will also allow roads to withstand the effects of climate change, as well as control air pollution significantly.
Meeting India’s International commitments towards climate change and land degradation – Some Indian states like Maharashtra have already been on that path. Maharashtra’s ‘Green Army’ initiative has, for example, taken part in planting 589 million saplings between 2016 and 2020. This year Uttar Pradesh planted 289 million plants in a single day, to preserve biodiversity and as well as for potential use for Ayurvedic therapies. This activity can be recreated in other states as well, to create the foundation for a strong economic recovery, as well as a cleaner future for generations.
Where To Go From Here
Recently, Greenpeace India had sent a plan to NITI Aayog to build a climate-proof, equal and sustainable India, as the country recovers from the effects of the pandemic. There is a chance that using green recovery measures in all aspects of society can help heal this country at multiple levels. Indians have witnessed an India with minimal pollution during the lockdown, as well as, how nature has reacted to it. Green recovery is the only way to move forward to keep this positive effect and help both the economy and the environment breath greener.