Running Out Of Time! Consciously Investing For Our Planet
Writer: Rijit Sengupta
Rijit Sengupta is CEO of the Centre for Responsible Business (CRB) – and has over twenty years of experience in various areas of sustainable development policy and practice across Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. His interest lies in the interface of business and society – particularly environmental protection/management, consumer welfare, community welfare, livelihoods/SMEs, business regulation, responsible business and SDGs. He has designed and implemented various projects/programmes on these areas in Sub-Saharan Africa, South and South East Asia. Currently, while much of his work on sustainable business/SDGs is focused on India, he has been also advocating for greater North-South dialogue on sustainable business/SDGs at various international platforms, while researching and writing on these issues. He has a Master degree in Agriculture and in Environment Management. He is an Alumnus of the University of Calcutta and the United Nations University (Tokyo). He is Member, Advisory Board of the Trade for Sustainable Development programme, International Trade Centre, Geneva and of the Consumer Information Programme of the One Planet Network.
India, 22 April 2022 11:32 AM GMT
Creatives : Ankita Singh
A literature lover who likes delving deeper into a wide range of societal issues and expresses her opinions about the same. Keeps looking for best-read recommendations while enjoying her coffee and tea.
“Because we all share this planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. This is not just a dream, but a necessity” , said Dalai Lama.
Although our religious and spiritual texts have highlighted and reiterated the ways in which Mother Nature and Human Life are intertwined, our busy lives and daily schedules have made us forget this fundamental connection. The theme of the 2022 Earth Day is - Invest in Our Planet. We will be able to make the most out of such investments if we are conscious of the fundamental connection between us, our lives and well-being and that of Mother Nature.
An investment adviser will tell you that there are a few fundamental prerequisites in making an investment decision. We have to know what we are investing in; be able to appreciate the risks involved and try to diversify the portfolio of our investments. Let us look at these components from the perspective of mobilising and deploying investments in our planet.
What Are We Investing In, When We Invest On Our Planet?
How can we think about investing in the planet, if we are unable to appreciate the fundamental connection between us and Mother Earth and its various resources - biotic and abiotic? These resources nurture us and are key to our well-being and of our future generations. The COVID pandemic is a stark reminder of how fragile this connection is. Therefore, when we invest in our planet we invest in strengthening this fundamental connection between us and Mother nature and its resources. In reality, this means appreciating our impacts and dependencies on the various biotic and abiotic resources around us while making socio-cultural and financial decisions.
An example is an investment by a housing society in a rainwater harvesting system. By making this investment, the housing society improves water availability for the residents and related uses. This is driven by the underlying appreciation of the dependency of people on the water, for their everyday use. Investing in a resource that is increasingly becoming scarce and threatened. This investment strengthens the connection between the well-being of the residents (in terms of access to water) and the ability of Mother nature to meet their demand for water.
Well certainly we should be able to appreciate the risks that get mitigated when we invest in our planet. We prevent and mitigate a bunch of risks when we do so. These are risks inter-alia, of over-consumption of food and other resources; the risks of widening the inequality gap; the risk of raising per capita emissions; the risk of stifling opportunities and so on.
One example is prioritising investments in non-conventional energy, and not just pumping millions to conventional sources. This would help mitigate risks associated with per capita emissions increase. If investments are simultaneously made to improve the skillset of the workforce in the non-conventional sector, it will also mitigate risks of job loss and unemployment as investments taper down in the conventional sector.
Not Just Financial Returns But Socio-Cultural Actions
As underlined above, all of our investments should consider the connection between each one of us and our Mother Earth. If each one of us starts to consider the various pathways through which we depend on and impact the various resources of Mother Earth on a daily basis, we may be able to identify those pathways where our impacts on Her resources could be reduced. This would help us expand our actions and decision-making so that the risks are prevented and/or mitigated. The portfolio of our investments on the planet could thereby be expanded.
Finally, investments in our planet do not just entail financial decisions but also socio-cultural actions. We must consider such socio-cultural actions that keep us deeply connected with and invested in the Planet. In the process, we reimagine a common future for us and our future generations, while also taking into consideration the needs of non-human species on our fragile planet with finite resources.
Needless to say, our financial decision-making process needs to consider both people and nature at its heart. This would keep us deeply invested in Our Planet. We will be constantly reminded to review and rebalance our relations with the biotic and abiotic resources of Mother Earth around us, as we make those financial investments. We are running out of time.
Also Read: Identifying Solutions To Hunger And Malnutrition In India