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Giving Green A Helping Hand

One of the main consequences of climate change is that the world is being literally forced into finding alternatives to the way things have been done traditionally.

Our consumption habits have particularly been challenged, because unlike in the past, our choices must be informed by our impact on the environment rather than the price at which goods or services are offered.

This being the case, it will not be easy selling the “green living” philosophy to everyone.

What informs spending habits differs from person to person, thus if the government is going to encourage green living there must be benefits accompanying such encouragement to get an overwhelming buy-in from citizens.

The obvious biggest challenge is that making a change to green living is not always affordable to everyone, especially when new technologies are competing with cheaper but environmentally unfriendly technologies.

For instance, in Swaziland the energy saving light bulb costs about USD 5, whereas the traditional light bulb costs less than a dollar. So an average home would have to spend more or less USD 40 to make their home greener. The effect here is that energy saving light bulbs may be perceived as a product for the wealthy.

Government must therefore have subsidies in place, which will cater for those that are willing to make a transformation but cannot afford to. These would especially be beneficial for rural communities where USD 40 can feed a family of 4 for 2 weeks or more. Subsidies will also assist in pushing the green living agenda, in that new technologies will be readily accessible to all in so far as the price is concerned.

Technologies such as solar power are not novel, however they still seem new to many communities because the amount of money associated with having this technology in one’s home is prohibitive. Government has the power to alter such perceptions through the use of subsidies.

Change is good on paper, but it is not always easy.

Governments must thus do what they can to promote change in the fight against climate change and environmental degradation.

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