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To my ecologically concerned work colleagues,
At the moment there is a lot of willingness from large sectors of society to do something about the environment. Whenever a new recycling initiative is rolled out, the most recent being soft plastics in supermarkets, the collection points are full to overflowing. There are a lot of innovations which are being worked on to lessen our impact on the environment. The two really need to be put together more. A lot of new innovations are spoken of very highly, but then never seem to get any further. Probably through lack of funds. Existing products that are already on the market, which are more sustainable, often seem to be priced a lot higher than existing goods. It would be good for the government to encourage the innovators to get their stuff on the market, financially or otherwise, and to give existing producers of more sustainable products tax breaks to bring down the price of their goods to encourage more people to buy them. There is a lot of goodwill amongst ordinary people to help the environment, it just needs to be more in their price range.
I think that financial incentives are a large part of the way forward. Make it more economic for producers to produce things more sustainably and they will do it, whether they are sustainably minded or not. One reason that ecologically bad things are happening is because it is economically profitable to destroy the world. Make it economically unprofitable to destroy the world, and it will mostly stop.
The other day the world containing eight billion people happened. However, the good news is that the growth rate has slowed right down. The problem is, as Phil Collins sang, "There's too many people making too many problems". A world densely packed with too many people causes all kinds of problems, socially as well as ecologically. The good news is that a lot of countries have got stabilised or even dropping birth rates. One thing being responsible for that is better education, especially for girls. Better educated people tend to have fewer children, who then are more likely to have a better quality of life. Also better educated people are a potential source for ideas to help the environment. I think that first world countries are largely okay with this. Third world countries though should seriously be given help and encouragement to provide better education for everyone.
So there is a lot of willingness and innovations to help the world. There is only so much that the market and individuals can do though. The government should help to coordinate the two. Then there is better education for the developing world. This is more long term, but will probably reap greater results.
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