The Economist’s Quandary: Will our Future Truly be Green?
In the last decade factories everywhere have shown a growing interest in making their production methods more eco-friendly. Almost every industry from shoes to electronics has made changes in their production process which will allow them to reduce their carbon footprint considerably. Every day millions of dollars are being spent in research into green processes and with this we are slowly marching towards solutions to combat the ever present problems like climate change. As the world is becoming greener, it raises the question whether these new methods are enough to sustain the growing population of the future. Through this article, Arya pradhan, a writer for Perspectoverse, will tackle this exact question.
The manufacturing industry has caught the green fever- a sudden interest in upgrading their production methods to match green standards. This new step in developing greener methods has not only reduced emissions but has also helped companies save a lot of money. A case study of paper and pulp companies in the midwestern United States found out that manufacturers can save upwards of 240 million dollars if they upgrade their equipment to meet Energy Star standards. This number gets even bigger when you consider it on a global scale, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) the manufacturing industry can save 80 billion dollars if they upgrade to modern green practises. So it is evident that modern green methods of production are not only effective in reducing emissions but also will help the industry save a lot in the long run, the only question that remains is whether this green movement will last forever and even if it does, can it sustain us in the future?
To explore this question, the impact of green manufacturing on the world as of current day must be inspected at the very grass root level. In the town of Normal, Illinois, an electric vehicle company called ‘Rivan’ spent 1.8 billion dollars renovating an old Mitsubishi factory to match green standards. This renovation started a green boom which attracted a lot of people from around the state to travel to it and seek employment there. Currently the plant employs around a hundred construction workers and more than 2,500 other employees and subcontractors and this number is expected to double in the next few years.
This economic growth is not only helping Normal, but also other towns from all around Illinois. For example, bigger towns like Bloomington have also gotten news about this and a big part of its working populace has emigrated from there to Normal in hopes of finding work there. Many people who didn’t have skilled jobs like plumbers and carpenters have found a new life working in the town of Normal. Illinois isn’t the only state that is experiencing an upsurge in green factories. Nevada, Texas, Arizona and Ohio are all seeing green factories being built by mega companies like Tesla and Lucid motors.
The requirement of meeting production demands while still remaining green is challenging indeed, but the upside is definitely worth fighting for. This transformation will not only help combat climate change but it has the potential to transform small towns like Normal to big cities by bringing in funds, tackling the unemployment rate (a U.S. census revealed that towns with these new green factories employed around 10% more working aged people than the national average), increasing popularity and bringing about more involvement from the government. The prospect of a huge economic growth ensures that this Green economy boom will last for a while. Now remains the question about sustainability, luckily there are steps being taken to ensure this too.
Mega corporations like Apple and Walmart are already investing in energy efficient technologies so that they can reduce the amount of electricity they consume. Companies like Google, Microsoft and Johnson and Johnson are all investing billions of dollars in wind and solar energy. Similar corporations collectively purchased a total of 2.5 gigawatts of renewable energy in the year of 2016 alone! And perhaps the most impressive of all is the fact that Ikea plans to use renewable energy in every aspect of their production from their factories to even basic things like temperature control. This is a humongous stride in ensuring that these green production methods will be able to support us in the future as well.
In conclusion, whether or not we will get to enjoy the benefits of this green boom in the future depends on a myriad of elements. Government policies, new technologies and the support of people will all play a vital role in this outcome, but if things continue as they are and towns like Normal keep springing up with new green factories that boost the economy, it’s extremely likely that we will keep benefitting from this movement years, decades and maybe even centuries from now. It is all but a matter of time.
Written by Arya Pradhan
Illustrated by Anushka Doshi