An exotic example

Is it realistic that, until 2100, a global warming of less than 2 degrees Celsius will be registered? Unfortunately, the answer is not encouraging. According to the Nature journal, there is a chance of less than 5% that the global warning level will be kept below 2 degrees Celsius in the period mentioned, the main reason of it being the negative impact of economic growth on the environment. More information on this issue can be found here.

Is economic growth always beneficial for Planet Earth? It depends on the perspective people adopt when analysing this question. For decades, companies and Governments have been focused on reaching new levels of growth in terms of financial profits, without considering the impact of their actions on our environment. We are told that progress is beneficial, that an increase in GDP leads to an improvement of the human life and that it is a step forward in eradicating poverty all around the world. However, being driven by the idea of economic growth, individuals forget to protect the world we all live in. How can we call it growth if the future generations will be affected by our actions on different levels? How can we call it growth when the health of our children will be jeopardised?

However, the power of example shows us that human wellbeing is not always connected to financial factors. According to the Happy Planet Index, Costa Rica is a top country in terms of the relationship between the low GDP level and the country’s minimal pressure on the environment, registering a life expectancy of around 79 years and being situated in the top 7% of the world in terms of population wellbeing, with a low level of impact on the nature.

How is this possible? It is believed that the Costa Rica’s commitment to universalism is the key. According to it, regardless of income, people should have access to high quality social services. This idea has first been established in Costa Rica back in 1940s and other Latin American countries have tried to follow its example, without being successful, as the principle of universalism was always compared to the communist ideology. For more detailed information, click here.

In spite of the criticism, Costa Rica has shown that it is possible for a country to make its way out of poverty, demonstrating that richer countries may also cut off their negative impact on the environment and still maintain a high standard of life. Would this approach be successful for other countries? It depends on whether the concept of universalism is accepted or not, as some people may see it as too radical. It is in the hand of each one of us to make a change and to positively influence the course of our planet in terms of sustainability. We should all take action now, until it is not too late! Every small gesture matters!

Alexandra

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