Economic prosperity depends on creating a low-carbon, low-waste economy, writes NUS Journalist Rory Tingle.
Remember the day when green meant anti-growth? It meant hating capitalism, hating big business and hating globalisation. No longer. Now, green means growth.
The latest figures, for the year 2011-12, showed that Britain had the sixth largest green goods and services market in the world. More significantly, its 4.8% growth rate in the area was higher than any other country apart from Brazil.
For the same year, according to the Green economy: a UK success story report, over a third of economic growth came from the green sector. But that is the result of the government pumping billions of taxpayers’ money into a bloated green sector, right?
Well, no. 61% of high carbon infrastructure projects in 2012-13 were funded solely by public money, compared to just 6% in the low carbon sector.
Put simply, the demand for sustainable goods and services has never been higher, and the countries that succeed will be the ones that wake up to this fact.
To continue growing our green economy, the next generation of workers need to have the necessary skills - that’s why I am in favour of the NUS’s policy demand for the 2015 election to make sustainable competencies a compulsory part of all apprenticeship programmes.
To take a basic example, this would mean that an apprenticeship in construction will always include direction in how to make buildings more energy efficient.
But policy changes are only a small part of the way forward - innovators and entrepreneurs are far more important.
The argument that environmental progress hinders growth is simply ludicrous, as these economic figures tell us. We need to do all we can to help Britain, and the world, realise that.
I study History at Durham University, where I am news and features editor at The Bubble, a student website, and also a contributor at The Student Journals.
I chose the Sustainability theme because I want to communicate my belief that people of all political persuasions should care about environmental issues. I hope to cover issues of interest to students, and avoid lecturing readers as much as possible!
Alongside my work in student media, I have freelanced for several publications including the London Resident and Absolutely Magazine. Outside of journalism, I am a dedicated Fulham FC fan, although my attendances have gone downhill of late after moving north.