I’m sure you’ve heard or read about things like the ecological transition, green deals or the Sustainable Development Goals.
And, because you’re on this blog, chances are you’re in favour of green deals. But it’s a complicated topic and we generally don’t know too much about them other than the fact that they’re great for the environment.
That’s why I want you to use this post as a little and non-intimidating introduction to what green deals are and what they mean for the world. If you want to go into detail, I’ve left you a few of my favorite books on the topic at the end!
I think it’s important we know exactly what they are because:
- without knowing what they are, how would we hold governments accountable for their promises and plans?
- if we’re familiar with them we can try and align our eco-conscious behaviour with the bigger picture
So let’s break it down.
What are green deals ?
Some countries or regions in the world have some kind of environmental policy. In the US they have the Green New Deal and in the EU we have the European Green Deal – we’re talking about these two in a bit.
The main goal of these policies is to alleviate the climate crisis and introduce environmentally-friendly practices or measures.
From there, each country decides which approach to take – from limiting greenhouse gas emissions to offsetting them or investing in renewable sources of energy.
European Green Deal
Its major goal is making Europe climate neutral by 2050 – and on the way reducing carbon emissions by 50% by 2030.
We’re not talking about a law, but a project with a set of policies.
This is cool because it leaves breathing space for the adoption of the measures that may be necessary for different situations and contexts.
But it’s also tricky and needs a lot of funding and coordination because the EU has countries with very different backgrounds and possibilities and some of them already have a head start in terms of sustainability (compare Denmark with Romania, for example).
The European Green Deal is also wonderfully complex because it tackles many issues across different areas:
- Biodiversity: measures to protect the European econystem
- From Farm to Fork: more sustainable food systems
- Sustainable agriculture and rural areas
- Clean energy
- Sustainable and environmentally-respectful industry
- Building and renovating: for a cleaner construction secton
- Sustainable mobility: green means of transport
- Eliminating pollution: measures to cut pollution fast and efficiently
- Climate action: making the EU climate neutral by 2050
You can learn more about the European Green Deal here.
The Green New Deal
In the US, after the Great Depression and with Roosevelt as president, the government introduced the New Deal, a plan of social and economic reforms for the regeneration of the American economy.
Now, the Green New Deal wants to follow this idea of reforming the system, additionally bringing modern issues to the table like – you guessed it – renewable energy, the ecological transition and sustainability.
There have been other proposals to introduce policies of this kind before, but what makes this different is the fact that this Deal is supported by one of the main parties (Democrats), while other times it had been proposed by smaller parties or groups.
Remember that (by the time I write this in March 2021) this is just a proposition, not a binding law or even a project, so there’s still a lot of work to do.
The proposition includes goals like making the country 100% renewable, introducing sustainable means of transportation and helping vulnerable communities.
But this is the best part: green plans are global
The ideal situation would be including all countries in the world and making strides toward sustainability all together.
But that’s way easier said than done: each country has its particularities economically and culturally, some can make more meaningful efforts than others and not all have climate change as a priority on their agenda.
There was one proposition by the UN for the Global Green New Deal that would work on poverty eradication, economic recovery after the 2008 crisis and environmental protection. But it stayed as a proposition and nothing more.
We also have the SDGs, which are a road map towards development in different areas like gender equality, poverty, hunger, protection of the marine ecosystem, reduction of GHG emissions,…
But what’s amazing is that other individual countries, big and small, are following this amazing trend and including measures or plans to fight against climate change within their power – anything from massive tree-planting campaigns to public transport going electric in Chinese cities.
Progress over perfection, don’t you think so?
What will it take to reach them?
Look, green deals represent ideal goals. Just at the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals represent the future we hope we’ll get to live.
I don’t think we should get stuck on whether it’s possible to complete them by the deadline or not as long as we see steady progress.
Does that mean that we should be less ambitious? Or demand less from our governments? Absolutelty not, we should shoot for the stars and change as much as we can as soon as we can.
But long-lasting change must have a very strong base and not simply be rushed, otherwise it’ll crumble – and we don’t want that.
Progress will look different in different issues and regions of the world, so we should all try to do our best – mostly in industrialized countries so that developing ones have wiggle room to make changes, grow along and not be left behind.
We’ve already settled that I’m a nerd, so just in case you’re also one here you have some resources to learn about sustainable development, green deals and the serous side of sustainability:
- The Climate Crisis and the Global New Deal by Noam Chomsky and Robert Pollin
- Winning the Green New Deal edited by Varshini Prakash and Guido Girgenti
- On Fire: the (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal by Naomi Klein
- Doughnut Economics: 7 Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist by Kate Raworth
- How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: the Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need by Bill Gates
- A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green New Deal