Authored by: Tracy Elsen
Editor’s Note: This week, NextBillion contributors are reflecting on what struck them as the best ideas that came to light in 2011 – ideas with the potential to spark real change in 2012 and beyond.
Will 2011 be remembered as the year that, as the world’s population hit 7 billion and problems in our economic model became increasingly apparent, we began figuring out how to transform the global economy to green growth? I certainly hope so.
A green economy, as defined by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is one that “results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.” An economy that works better for both people and the planet – it almost sounds too good to be true. But this year, the ideas of green economy and green growth became the subject of much buzz that has the potential to turn into action starting in 2012.
In early January, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon dramatically called for a shift to a green economy in front of the globe’s most powerful leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “We mined our way to growth,” he said. “We burned our way to prosperity. We believed in consumption without consequences. Those days are gone. In the 21st century, supplies are running short and the global thermostat is running high.” He implored the audience to “leap confidently into the future with cutting-edge technologies, the best science and entrepreneurship has to offer, to build a safer, cleaner, greener and more prosperous world for all.”
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