Happy World Environmental Health Day! Prioritizing Environmental Health for healthier communities in global recovery
The 26th of September of every year has been declared the ‘World Environmental Health Day’ by the International Federation of Environmental Health. This year, the IFEH has declared the theme as ‘Prioritizing Environmental Health for healthier communities in global recovery’, which places emphasis on recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing investments to avoid environmental degradation and pollution. Echoing the IFEH’s call to invest resources to promote a fairer, more sustainable global economy, Turn the Bus explores the scope of ‘green jobs’ in the global economy in this blog.
What are ‘green jobs’?
According to the International Labour Organisation, ‘green jobs’ are “decent jobs that contribute to preserving or restoring the environment, be they in traditional sectors such as manufacturing and construction, or in new, emerging green sectors such as renewable energy and energy efficiency.”
Examples of green jobs are jobs associated with clean transportation, or generation of cleaner sources of energy, like solar energy.
Why the global call for more ‘green jobs’ everywhere?
The 2019 Report on the Emissions Gap published by the United Nations Organisation (ONU) states that greenhouse gas emissions need to be urgently reduced by 7.6% per year between 2020 and 2030 to reach the target of the Paris Agreement. Doing this will limit global warming to the global temperature increase of 1.5 °C per annum. However, this is not the solution to the problem of global warming and the adverse effects of climate change as even if all the commitments of the Paris Agreement are achieved, the global temperatures are still projected to increase by around 3.2 degree celsius by the end of the 21st century. Imagining a rudimentary society with no more progress is impossible, so instead, economies built on grene principles are the need of the hour and that is where ‘green jobs’ come in.
‘Green jobs’ have numerous benefits and some of them are:
- They improve the use of cleaner sources of energy and the efficient use of raw materials. 2. The existence of these jobs limit greenhouse gas emissions
- These jobs contribute towards overall minimizing waste and pollution
- The activities associated with green jobs mostly protect and restore ecosystems UNEP’s ‘Green Jobs’ initiative:
Among many other organisations, the United Nations Environment Programme has also started its ‘green jobs’ initiative and has released its ’Global Guidance for Education on Green Jobs: Connecting Higher Education and Green Opportunities for Planetary Health’. UNEP’s initiative is craftily designed in both demand and supply sides where it aims to increase demand for green jobs in the global workforce, while also helping create a stronger supply of necessary green and environmental sustainability skills through education.
This poses an important question- how will education- focused NGOs, including Turn the Bus, pivot their programs to include education that imparts critical sustainability skills for the future?