The world is at an environmental crossroad and a choice needs to be made to improve the environmental welfare or continue down the path that will see the environment deteriorate substantially over the next 100 years. People are aware that the Earth is facing significant environmental problems, but most people either choose to ignore it or simply don’t prioritise implementing sustainable initiatives. To be honest, human nature dictates that people will prioritise their needs and wants over someone else’s. Environmentalists have been bombarding people with facts, predictions and the need for people to take action, but the message doesn’t seem to hit home for the majority. The problem won’t go away and neither will the way people prioritise themselves. So a better way is needed.
Hence, the sustainable economic model.
A sustainable economic model links sustainability to financial benefits. No matter who the people are and where they are in the world, money will affect their livelihood and will be among their top individual priorities. The following methods have proven to be successful in economies such as the United Kingdom and Australia.
Authorities implementing financial penalties.
The quickest way to get people and organisations to take action is by issuing financial penalties. By issuing significant amounts in fines to people or organisations who do not comply with environmental practices. The city of Beijing in China has implemented a similar scheme with coal-fired electric companies who are fined if they exceed the target set for carbon emissions.
Authorities implementing financial rewards.
The thought of people and organisations earning more money for becoming more sustainable is a great incentive. There are schemes that involve can or bottle collections, mobile phones, clothes and more.
Encouraging organisations to partner with businesses and local residents to help them ‘Close the loop’.
Sustainable actions can be easily implemented by partnering with specialist organisations that can manage processes that will help to ‘close the loop’. This means businesses and individuals need to be educated on processes to prepare items for the next stage in the circular economy.
For example, millions of printer cartridges get sent to landfill when they should be sent to specialist recyclers. If the cartridges end up in landfill, it will take 450-1000 years to degrade. Additionally, the toxins from the plastic and ink residue is harmful for the environment and can damage the ecosystem which can affect the health of wildlife and humans.
To prevent this from happening, printer cartridge suppliers like Cartridges Direct in Australia have partnered with organisations like Planet Ark who offer satchels and boxes at Post Office outlets so that used printer cartridges will be distributed to the correct recyclers.
Authorities need to encourage the rollout of environmentally-friendly technology.
It’s challenging to get people to change their habits. That’s why environmentally-friendly technology can conveniently help to reduce people’s impact on the environment.
For example, carbon emissions is a huge global problem which is primarily caused by the burning of fossil fuels such as oil, gas or coal to produce electricity. Millions of homes and businesses are connected to those grids and consume energy in order to fulfil their daily tasks. People don’t want their tasks to be affected. Their priority is to have a source of energy that will allow them to fulfil their tasks.
Some of the ways this can be achieved include the following.
Improving the source of natural light with green building designs.
Energy consumption can be reduced if a building is designed to maximise natural light. This means the building should make good use of skylights, solar tubes and large window openings. Additionally, the interior design should use mirrors and glass and metal objects to reflect as much natural light as possible in the building.
Improving the use of artificial lighting with LED lights.
LED lights are the most energy-efficient light bulbs available. They consume less than 80% of the energy that’s required to light up incandescent light bulbs. Many organisations and residents that have made the switch report savings of at least 40% annually, without changing their consumption habits.
Change can be made, but it needs to be pitched in a way that will make people and organisations position sustainability as the number one priority. The sustainable economic model is the best way to motivate the world’s citizens to take immediate action.