Youth urged to consider careers in green economy

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy, has identified the green economy as a career option that young people should consider to gain access to new opportunities, possibilities for employment, ownership and shared prosperity.

Addressing the annual Green Youth Indaba in Durban, the Minister said sustainable development is the only correct approach to solve the current economic problems.

“Sustainability is an important concept for all of us here because it teaches us that the way in which we meet our current needs as humanity should not impact on the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

“The environmental crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental degradation pose an existential threat to all of us. The new green production revolution offers new possibilities for employment, ownership and shared prosperity,” the Minister said on Thursday.

Creecy said today’s youth face the triple crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental pollution, all which not only threaten the future of the natural world but also the survival of humanity.

“The key driver of the green economy is the transition to low carbon forms of energy generation, storage, mobility and industrial production. In the mining sector, this is driving new demand for what are considered the minerals of the future – platinum, lithium, copper and vanadium, amongst others. These are used in the production of fuel cells and battery storage technology. This also supports new forms of industrialisation to produce components for renewable energy installations, batteries, fuel cells, electric vehicles and for green hydrogen,” the Minister said.

She said new forms of food production that use less water, energy, fertilisers and pesticides are driving new research and development.

“Declining fish stocks are already leading to a surge in aquaculture production in both coastal and inland communities. Public demand for eco-tourism is fuelling renewed interest in South Africa’s tourist offerings and our conservation management authorities are already promoting public-private partnerships to improve tourism offerings in a number of national parks,” Creecy said.

Recently, South Africa joined 175 countries in supporting an international pact to end plastic pollution.

This pact requires that South Africa promote strategies to reduce, reuse and recycle plastic, as well as improve waste management strategies in the country.

“The pact is already promoting better cooperation between business, government and waste reclaimers, and it promotes a recycling industry that has in recent years created close to 71 000 jobs.

“While time is running out to mitigate the effects of climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental pollution, science tells us it is not too late, and we must act with urgency in this decade,” the Minister said.

South Africa is a signatory to the three Rio Conventions relating to Climate Change, Desertification and Biodiversity.

“In signing the Paris Agreement on climate change in 2015, our government committed to giving its best effort to prevent average global temperature increases to well below two degrees and to ensuring that we progressively meet the target of placing 30% of the land and the sea under protection. These targets are not easy for any developing country to meet and ours is no exception,” the Minister said. –

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