In the past few years, the concept of a "Green Economy" has received a lot of attention as an alternative vision for sustainable growth. In the just concluded Rio+20 summit for Sustainable Development the concept was accepted as an ‘an important tool’ to deliver sustainable growth. What is the green economy? A special issue of Zwazo Magazine, the only colour magazine of its kind in Seychelles, takes a spotlight to this idea.
The Green Economy is described as one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. It is seen as a new engine of growth, a generator of decent jobs, and a vital strategy for the elimination of persistent poverty. But the Green Economy was heavily criticised post-Rio by many who see the concept as furthering "corporate stranglehold of the world’s resources."
"Rio + 20, has come and gone. Now we must reflect on whether the central theme of the conference –the Green Economy – has taken root," says Dr. Nirmal Shah in the editorial.
The concept, Shah argues, can help direct incremental steps that deliver the Triple Bottom Line of "People, Profits and Planet", particularly as the current models have failed.
These incremental steps is what Zwazo authors describe. In "What about the Vulnerable People in Seychelles?" Dr. Martin Varley shows that social inclusion can be achieved by providing the vulnerable in Society with viable livelihoods options that help them get jobs and get back into mainstream society. He uses Nature Seychelles Nature Therapy projects to illustrate this. From the region, Tess Shellard tells us about a health, environment and livelihoods project that is helping the people of Andavadoaka, south west Madagascar solve environmental problems.
Seychelles is now making efforts to reduce its overall energy consumption and to move on to more renewable sources of energy. Andrew Jean Louis tells us about the "Use it well, Live well" energy saving campaign currently underway, which is coupled with ongoing changes in legislation to encourage the use of renewables. In "A piece of the Sun" Tim Kirkpatrick explains that it is easy and cost-effective to make use of one of the renewables: Solar energy, while in "Totally Tropical: Green Buildings for Seychelles are Possible," Dominic Rassool demonstrates that buildings in the Seychelles can reduce the overall amount of energy they require with intelligent design at the core of such buildings.
Small islands face challenges ranging from climate change to overfishing and coastal development in their "blue" economies. Nirmal Shah describes how creative solutions can help solve some of these problems, while Georgia French tells us about a project that is looking at balancing coastal development and biodiversity in Seychelles.
With the arrival of the fibre optics cable and faster internet in Seychelles, businesses and individuals are set to make more use of technology. But what happens to our outdated or obsolete gadgets? It's time to think about that, argues Raju McKenzie. A knowledge-sharing hub for Africa, the Green Africa Directory, could provide access to solutions being implemented elsewhere. Kate Berrisford shows talks about this New Online Green Network for Sustainability in Africa.
The magazine also covers Nature Seychelles own efforts in promoting the Green and Blue Economy. This issue of Zwazo is free for download (PDF 19.4mb) on our website and on Issuu