When I considered doing an article on the iconic Greenpeace movement which started much of our environmental activism, I thought it would be an intellectual and historical project. But, my 92-year old Aunt Polly informed that Green-ness runs in the family,. Greenpeace is just a cousin away, including one of the movement’s matriarchs.
The term ‘green city’ or ‘sustainable city’ to many in the developing world is merely rhetoric of the affluent. The focus is often directed at exploiting our natural resource, creating more jobs, driving out extreme poverty, and improving standards of living of the masses with little concern for the environment. It’s not surprising that developing countries often battle International Environmental Agreements (IEAs) for special waivers when it comes to their implementations.
The premise that economic progress and environmental welfare are inversely related, at least during the initial stages of development, is being held by many policymakers in developing countries. Scientific hypotheses such as the Environmental Cruznes curve postulate a U-shape relationship between environmental welfare and economic growth: environmental damages increase in the initial stages of per capita income growth, attains stability and then starts declining. These ideas help explain why the concept of green cities is less appealing in the developing world. Therefore, there should be an in-depth probe to find out whether the ‘green city’ concept hinders economic progress.
A Study by The Centre for Environmental Research and Policy Analysis (CERPA)
The Ghana Environmental Concern Meter (GECM) is a scientific and objective assessment of public concerns on various environmental issues and challenges affecting the lives of the Ghanaian people. It is also a detective and reporting tool for environmental problems in communities in Ghana. Further, the GECM seeks to bring these environmental problems to the knowledge of the public to encourage self-help, responsibility, and environmental ownership among the Ghanaian people.
Environmentalists may not be happy with some of the solutions to climate change. In a recent article in Wired Magazine, “Inconvenient Truths: Get Ready to Rethink What It Means to Be Green”, the top 10 ways to save the planet are likely to drive environmentalists crazy. Calling for Greens to unite around the issue of greenhouse gasses, the article makes the case for public policies that favor nuclear energy and urban density. The outcry from readers was memorable as they criticized the single mindedness of the article, its lack of supporting data, its in-your-face sensationalism, and overall creepiness. Yet, the discussion of climate change and public policy does and should raise these most difficult issues as new reports show irreversible damage.