Today, many of us aspire to achieve zero pollution levels to live in a healthy environment that could benefit future generations. This article discusses how accomplishing this is more complicated than it seems. We need to take action to create a greener future for future generations.
It is undoubtedly a goal that requires support and collaboration from everyone. Now you may ask… what has happened? In 2009, during talks at the height of the economic recession, the United Nations (UN) pointed the way forward for Europe and other nations towards a greener future by drafting and publishing a report entitled Rethinking the Economic Recovery: A Global Green New Deal.
At the time, the relevant information of that document went unnoticed. Nowadays, we are paying attention to the general problem by focusing on the impact of climate change. This is why the concept is back on the agenda to set sustainable growth paths.
The Green Deal seeks a sustainable future.
Climate change is a reality, and as we all know, the truth is a hard pill to swallow for many people sometimes. The greenhouse effect is something we all need to be aware of. We may lose focus because of COVID-19 and the whole pandemic situation, but the big issue is still there, and it’s also silent. We can’t keep delaying actions if we want a greener future for Europe.
Numerous proposals have been launched in recent years to combat climate change. Many conferences were held to raise awareness among the world’s population. We are all aware of how terrible our future could become if we do not take this situation into our own hands.
The proposal that keeps coming back is the movement that aims to save the planet for the new generations based on sustainable growth. In this sense, one of the most relevant projects is the one presented by the new European Commission, chaired by Ursula Von der Leyen, in December 2019: The European Green Deal.
Can it help us to build a greener future for Europe?
The European Green Deal sets out a strategic roadmap with concrete milestones that puts energy and green transition at the heart of policy action. Its program, which is strongly supported by some European governments – Germany, France, and Spain – has the following objectives:
– Achieve a climate-neutral EU by 2050.
– Protect human life, animals, and plants by reducing pollution.
– Contribute to ensuring a just and inclusive transition.
– Developing clean, reliable, and affordable energy and developing financing for the transition.
– Transforming agriculture and rural areas.
– Clean, reliable, and affordable forms of energy.
– Achieving climate neutrality
– Sustainable transport
– Conserving Europe’s natural capital
– Transition to the Circular Economy
And what do they propose to achieve this?
A Greener future is on the horizon thanks to European Green Deal. This document contains a wide range of measures to promote renewable energies, sustainability of transport, efficient and circular industrial model, etc.
Moreover, the fashion industry proposes changing consumer patterns, offering quality services or products that do not degrade so quickly over time. It is called Slow Fashion, and its objective is to have an environmental legacy for future generations.
Below, we review in detail the main proposals of this European Green Deal project:
Firstly, the proposal calls for companies to receive support to modernize their processes and stimulate circular, zero-emission production. It will affect sectors such as textiles, electronics, and plastics. The power of recycling can minimize environmental impact while helping the industry not waste material.
The research paper: “Preserving the value of EU industrial materials,” written by Material Economics, states that “if all aluminum, plastics, and steel were recycled, they could supply 82% of EU demand in these categories.” Therefore, there is a lot of room for improvement.
Say goodbye to old building models! Secondly, the renovation of buildings will be a crucial factor to a greener future. According to the European Commission, buildings account for 40% of energy consumption. So, the Green Deal recommends sustainable urban development that invests in the energy efficiency of buildings.
Did you know that energy production and use account for more than 75% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions? The aim is to decarbonize this sector and prioritize using clean and renewable energy by modernizing infrastructures and promoting energy efficiency.
Every day, we need to move from one place to another. One of the objectives is to reduce emissions from cars, trains, ships, and planes because transport accounts for 25% of EU emissions. This means sustainable mobility promoting cleaner, more efficient, and healthier public and private vehicles.
In addition, the European Green Deal also aims to protect biodiversity and ecosystems. That is to say, improve the quality of oceans and forests, and develop the green city concept that seeks to increase biodiversity in urban spaces.
Food is necessary. It’s sustenance and directly linked to our overall health. This is obvious. However, what is not apparent is the effects its excessive production has. To clarify, excess food waste harms the planet. The Green Deal aims to reduce pesticides in the agricultural industry and develop innovative techniques such as food tech. These changes will ensure sustainable and quality food and increase organic livestock farming.
It’s everyone’s job!
Climate change is a battle to be won in the medium and long term. With everyone’s efforts, building a greener future is now possible. We can start to minimize the damage and promote more sustainable development through:
– Improving energy efficiency and opting for renewable energies.
– Reforesting forests and restoring damaged ecosystems.
– Diversify crops to make them more adaptable to changing climates.
– Seek innovative solutions for the prevention and management of natural disasters.
One time? Reuse is the key!
Lastly, fighting premature obsolescence means adding value to unsold durable goods. Consumers will benefit from the “right to repair.” Consequently, businesses can save more by selling durable or repairable products. That is a win-win!
Europe is paving its way to a greener future by forming a commission of independent experts to advise States. The path is there; a sustainable development strategy has been created. We just have to follow it. Not to mention, hold companies accountable for their actions. Above all, it’s time to take the problem into our own hands and continue to do our bit.