The drive towards environmental sustainability gained momentum in the early ’80s. In 1983, realizing that there was a heavy deterioration in the human environment and natural resources, the United Nations established the world commission on environment and development (WCED) commonly referred to as the Brundtland Commission. The task of the Bruntland commission was to formulate a global Agenda for change with its main agenda being to propose long-term environmental strategies for achieving sustainable development. Sustainable development is defined as development that meets the needs of the current generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Over the years, a lot has been said and done about the environment, but unfortunately, environmental pollution has over the years not been arrested. Indeed today, it is estimated that environment pollution since the Bluntland commission has more than doubled. This has been driven by the increasing global human population which has seen the rise in the demand for goods and services such as housing and accommodation, travel and leisure, transport and housing. To meet these growing demands, economies, global citizens as well as companies around the world have upped their efforts in providing these much-needed goods and services to their consumers. Unfortunately, most of this has been done with little regard for the environment; exploiting natural resources with impunity.
In a report published by the United Nations for Environmental Protection (UNEP) titled “The business case for the green economy”, in 2013, the aim of UNEP was the desire to convince the global business community and governments that going green makes economic sense; by providing compelling data that there are benefits of going green which businesses and governments cannot ignore. And true to the report, researchers and the practitioner community have concluded that there are great benefits that organizations can tap from by going green. From green construction, green transportation, green buildings, green energy, green manufacturing, green IT, and green Information systems to green supply chain: establishing a green business is not only financially healthy for businesses but also healthy for the environment.
Lack of awareness on green practices has hampered the shift to green businesses. It is because of that that global champions for action towards the environment such as we don’t have time #Wedonthavetime (on social media platform) have been formed. The major focus of the platform is to encourage dialogue on sustainability. We don’t have time is the world’s largest social media app dedicated to climate solutions advocacy. Established and run in Sweden in 2016, their push for climate action has for long been extended throughout the world to advocate for global solidarity in addressing climate change.
In Africa, voices calling for a global approach towards sustainability have grown. It has been argued that Africa contributes the least amount of Greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), yet up to now Africa as a continent has paid the heaviest price for the continued environmental pollution. From unpredictable weather patterns, prolonged drought, flash floods, rising levels of the oceans and inland lakes; the burden of continued environmental degradation has hit African countries hard. The future that WCED was formed to help the world mitigate is here with us, and unfortunately, years of lipservice by global leaders to environmental protection have brought us the calamities we could have avoided had we taken action years ago.
Efforts by organizations such as We Don’t have time have raised young environmental Ambassadors like Patrick Kiarie, a Kenyan, who recently won the best overall global climate idea by we don’t have time and they still support Nigerian based ”Afrigod” (www.afrigod.com) which aims to empower people through sport by engaging them to find solutions for the environment among many other activities. Environmentalists such as Wangari Maathai, the noble peace Laurette, who established the Green Belt movement; and also https://www.earthday.org/ and https://app.wedonthavetime.org/auth/login movement have played a vital role in developing practical solutions for environmental protection.
The undeniable fact is that we need more of such environment-conscious organizations to raise their voice on the environment until global leaders take tougher action to guarantee that everybody plays their role in protecting our environment.
There is no doubt that building awareness not just for businesses but also build a green-conscious populace; a global population that can identify with the environment, and makes decisions that are right for what they believe in concerning the environment: a population that will prefer to work for companies that show concern for the environment; a global citizenly that is willing to only buy products and services from companies that have gone green; a global population that makes green-conscious decisions for the firms they run will be the key in establishing a global climate movement.
In all this, Africa is expected to play a pivotal role in preserving the environment for future generations. As Africa gears up for industrialization, policy, and legislation, as well as awareness on the establishment of green businesses, can be a game-changer. With proven benefits, Africa can be used as a perfect example to the rest of the world that yes, it is possible to go green and make higher profits.
The establishment and success of all these efforts depend entirely on me and you. We all have a moral responsibility to do what is right for the environment. As one environmentalist cautioned : “This world is not an inheritance from our ancestors, we are borrowing it from our children”; we need to give them back their world better, safer and cleaner.
You can join the We don’t have time movement by downloading their app on google play or signup on the web via the link https://app.wedonthavetime.org/auth/sign-up-manual and be a part of the climate dialogue.