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Sustainable livelihoods solution: As it turns brown, go green!

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Fri, Oct 7. 2011

Editor: Please allow me to present to the populace another option as we cope with current economic challenges.

Yes, it is obvious that the flow of liquid capital within the nation’s economy appears to be of grave concern to the public. As we say colloquially, “things brown.” To adapt to this economic challenge, we are presented with several options.{{more}} One of these is to accept and practice strategies associated with going green.

Going green is more than a corporate strategy to boost sales, gain clients and sharpen the public’s image. It is also more than a plan to acquire subsidies and grants. It is definitely the foundation from which small economies and or communities can move towards sustainable livelihoods, thus ensuring their security and a greater independence.

Imagine the resources which can be conserved if private and public entities operate in a virtually paperless environment. It is evident that current information communication technology (ICT) can support such an initiative. Consider this: Thousands of stacks of paper files, invoices, bills and note books in and around the workplace being transformed into digital storage. In other words, all these papers being replaced with electronic mass storage devices in a secure location. This extra space can be converted into more offices and certainly reduce operational expenses. On a larger scale, this can reduce rental of office spaces. Certainly, the implementation of the ‘paperless environment’ strategy will no doubt extend the life span of sanitary landfills and by extension a further reduction in our green house gas emission, GHG.

The going green concept can also be applicable to our routine individual lives when sustainable energy initiatives are embraced. One school of thought proposed that our current lifestyle is hinged on the next supply of fossil fuel to be delivered via the fuel tanker ships. Indeed, fuel virtually drives our lives and our livelihoods: From workers in fisheries and farming on one end of the spectrum, to workers in industry and tourism. Consider this: If the electricity supply was disrupted, people’s daily activities would be severely restricted. Bearing in mind the challenges associated with fossil fuel,why not go green and reap the associated benefits? The use of solar operated devices such as computer and phone battery chargers, solar water heaters, calculators and photo voltaic cells as another source of energy are viable options which must be looked at favorably. Despite the challenging costs associated with this endeavor, these applications offer a sustainable alternative.

The going green concept can be incorporated into the farming and fishing sectors. Going green for the farming sector in one case may mean rearing animals, not only for local consumption but also for manure to be used by farmers. For the fishing sector, this initiative can be translated into using solar energy to dry fish, thus providing a constant supply of corned fish to the populace. Of course, it is a good substitute for saltfish. In both sectors, the practices associated with going green will not only contribute to food security, but contribute to sustainable livelihood and a reduction in our carbon footprint.

As our nation develops, there is a tendency for people to move almost completely from traditional knowledge and culture, and embrace the activities associated with contemporary lifestyles. That’s modernization. As we move into yet another era, one will discover that the green initiatives which we have learnt from our foreparents are needed to build resilience and maintain sustainable livelihoods in this economic challenging time. It is modernization using traditional knowledge, so to speak. Let us Go Green.

Neri James

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