Curtain Raiser— Green Pearls-Promoting Sustainable Values Through Story Telling
What’s the motivation?
Countries like Pakistan should not miss the opportunities to transform their societies towards sustainable practices in the wake of increasing burden on their energy resources or energy crisis that has been crippling the socio-economic fabric of those societies. This can be a time for social innovation, infrastructure renovation, and smart technological transformation that can move them towards sustainable living and sustainable societies. I would like to explain the rationale for my motivation to take this initiative in the context of Pakistan’s current energy crisis.
Depletion of vast natural resources, life wrecking floods exposing Pakistan’s extreme vulnerability to climate change, a rapid population growth, a growing economy with high consumption pattern that puts enormous strain on energy resources, water and food, a complete disregard for environment are some of the issues being faced by Pakistan. The vision and the will to work through these problems in a sustainable manner are missing both on the part of the government and the people. In spite of the enormous crises, some sectors in the Pakistan economy have shown significant resilience in 2012. World Bank has projected a steady growth of 3.5% for Pakistan. This creates hope for higher growth and poverty alleviation. So what is missing?
In the book “Pakistan: The transformative Path”, written by the World Bank, it is argued that
“the sharp reduction in poverty suggests that poverty is highly elastic to growth. Pakistan is good in reducing poverty when the GDP grows but cannot sustain the growth.”
So when the floods ravage the fertile lands, when the policy makers respond to the energy crises by focusing on increasing the supply side only and that too by investing in dirty coal and dangerous nuclear power , when imported oil runs the power plants, when energy crises puts the industries out of action, when people don’t find work and protest on the roads, when people fail to realize the power of community development, when the country’s leadership lacks the political will to promote energy efficiency actions, Pakistan cannot develop sustainably.
Pakistan’s development in all sectors like education, health, poverty alleviation, human development are inextricably linked with sustainability and energy efficiency. Pakistan needs to learn that sustainable energy and sustainable environmental management are a must for sustainable economic development.
The opportunity, I see, is to liaison with the sustainable societies and their social actors who practice prosperity through sustainability and energy efficiency. Scandinavia in general and Denmark in particular present excellent examples to emulate for countries like Pakistan.
Why is it not being solved?
Sustainability may be an alien concept to a large majority of Pakistanis, or at least this is the impression I get from media, friends, and relatives. It is rhetoric of the west. Sustainability is therefore not an urgent issue than job loss or other economic stresses they think it is okay to have the status quo. To them, environmental sustainability and energy efficiency are mutually exclusive from economic development. For many, it is more important to earn bread and butter and send their children to school rather than think of living the green way. There appears to be no concrete action plan on the part of the government to become environmental and energy sustainable. There is no effort on part of the government to give the people ownership of sustainability and energy efficiency. I believe that the important role of research is missing; the will for doing something concrete for promoting sustainability is missing at the government and private levels.
How do we plan to contribute to environmental sustainability in Pakistan?
Green Pearls has been conceived and established with the main goal of helping today’s Pakistani generation to understand the importance and value of taking small but concrete steps to contribute towards sustainable environment for themselves and for the generations to come after them.
We at Green Pearls want to harness the power of social innovation to celebrate sustainability. Community development will play an important role in disseminating the goodness of green and efficient energy and environment. We want to talk about green changes through stories of simple and easy measures that have helped many societies to transform their societies and environment. We plan to emphasize that those stories can be replicated for initiating and supporting a change process across the society. We plan to reach the corporate sector, universities, NGOs, the rural workforce through story telling. A unique aspect of Green Pearls is that it focuses on storytelling for inspiring general public, influencing policy makers, and stimulating the designers of future technological innovation. Taking inspiration from Sustainia, a Danish based think tank on sustainability, we would organize Sustainability Solutions Festival celebrating the sustainable products/practices of the society.
Green Pearls aims to provide a platform for supporting networking and interactions among social actors for conceiving, materialising, and disseminating innovative ideas and solutions for sustainable living. This platform endeavours to bring the brightest minds from different walks of life to exchange knowledge and stories about sustainability supportive initiatives and outcomes.
Green Pearls has been particularly founded to promote strong social, scientific, and economic ties between Pakistan and Scandinavian counties in general and Denmark in particular in the areas of renewable energy and sustainable livings. For this goal, Green Pearl believes in leveraging the art of storytelling for disseminating inspiring stories of energy efficiency, sustainability, economic progress and addressing climate change.