Do we want a world where fracking and genetic modification are considered green and where clean energy sources are penalized? Or do we want a world where the environment is protected for future generations? Now more than ever, we need to support initiatives that work with nature and invest in green energy sources.
It has been a few years now since world leaders signed the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change with great pomp and ceremony, but it is debatable whether we are any closer to a greener world. Since the historic signing, some governments are forging ahead with policies and trade agreements that are incompatible with the agreement’s core goals. If we want sustainability, civil society will have to lead the charge.
Securing a Sustainable Green Revolution
Since 2015, the United Kingdom announced plans to allow fracking in national parks, which is hardly a green initiative. In fact, numerous studies have denounced the practice as dangerous, stating that the chemicals used in fracking are carcinogenic, mutagenic, and linked to coronary heart disease and hormone disorders. Furthermore, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns of severe air pollution, groundwater contamination, and threats to wildlife.
Meanwhile, the doors are being swung open for the fracking industry, but green energy is facing problems of its own. The government of the United Kingdom announced last year that it will impose higher taxes on businesses, schools, and hospitals that use solar power. Surely, in light of our climate crisis, the use of solar and wind power should be encouraged. Instead, many businesses using green energy will be forced to revert to cheaper, dirtier, energy suppliers. Experts fear this will spell disaster for the UK solar industry, but this issue is also a global one. Some of the trade deals being discussed at the moment could make fighting climate change impossible. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being discussed between the United States and the European Union would allow corporations to sue governments in closed courts if those governments’ policies were to affect private sector yields. In effect, this could undo the Paris Agreement’s positive potential.
While the organic movement is growing, the global market for pesticides has nearly doubled in the last five years. Moreover, in spite of studies demonstrating just how polluting traditional intensive agriculture is, due to its reliance on synthetic fertilizers and organophosphates, the sector is not being transformed as quickly as necessary.
At a time when we need to nurture, support, and clean up our planet, industrial practices are speedily dirtying our drinking water, poisoning our soils, polluting our air, and decimating essential species like honey bees. Unfortunately, chemical fertilizers and genetic modification, which are designed to withstand huge amounts of pesticides, are growing simultaneously. They are sold as the solution to feeding the world, promising more food with less land, but the contrary is true. According to a Union of Concerned Scientists’ report entitled Failure to Yield, organic agricultural practices lead to better yields than genetic engineering and crop spraying. What is more, weeds and pests can develop a tolerance to pesticides, so increasing amounts of chemicals need to be employed.
(Read more about The Importance of Agricultural Preparedness and Resilience)