ANY country’s developmental needs are judged in line with the kind of infrastructure it has established. The infrastructural development paradigm includes road networks, buildings, dams, bridges, airports, ports, industrial and technological hubs. These are paramount and sustainable systems that contribute to green growth and the socio-economic development of any given country.
Guest column: Peter Makwanya
While it is not bad for every progressive country to establish these eye-catching and complex panoramas, the most fundamental tell-tale and living truth is that, a comprehensive and thorough analysis should be demonstrated on where the exact location or site these infrastructure should be erected.
In this regard, other building projects of national significance have landed on wetland areas, while others have displaced communities or trampled upon traditional landscapes and sacred sites. This is against the dictates of indigenous knowledge systems and requirements.
In most cases and situations, when the responsible authorities think of infrastructural growth, they rely more on common sense which is not that very common instead of thinking using the heart, when coming up with their expansionist programmes. When dealing with issues of cultural significance and livelihoods, the heart should be at the centre of sustainable development.
No one can doubt the role played by infrastructural development that it is the cradle of industrial development and economic growth, but as we come up with various forms of infrastructure, let us not forget or overlook the role of the environment and all the ecosystems surrounding it.
That is to say: What happens to the landscapes or the natural sites which would have been destroyed by building or developmental programs?
What about the natural ecosystemic significance within the soil underneath as well as on its surface?
These are some of the fundamental questions that development paradigms choose to ignore; every time they think of coming up with something.
There are an assortment of creatures and organisms which dwell on land that define quality of human lives and if that land is destroyed, then the natural ecosystem is destroyed as well, paving way for greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. This sets the stage for global warming, leading to climate change.
No matter how much our infrastructural desires are, it is high time authorities establish the infrastructure which respects the tenets of the environment.
We need to invest in green infrastructure, which can exist side by side with the natural environmental landscapes while respecting nature in the process.
As the environment is being mortgaged and destroyed, natural environmental changes with a warming capacity take place and these add up to the already existing emissions and intoxicated air.
While infrastructural development is good for economic growth and poverty reduction, our authorities’ ambitions and desires need to be regulated and moderated.
Green infrastructure should be everything that can occupy our minds, it is environmentally-friendly and conscious from beginning to the end.
Green infrastructure is an investment in its own right; for that reason, it requires substantial funding and financing.
This is when the green financing we always read and talk about comes in timeously to rescue nations in environmental stress, with landscapes that are vulnerable to expansionist policies of greed leaders and multinationals with no regard for human rights and the environment.
This also means that green finance should be made available to all countries, in distress, especially developing ones, because they lack the most needed sustainable policies and the appropriate voice.
While green finance is important in every respect, nations around the world, especially developing countries, should not wait for green finance without identifying locally available green materials, equipment and substances which can complement green funding efforts.
It should, indeed, be known that green financing, together with green materials for building green infrastructure, are not always foreign-made.
They can also be found locally and cheaper, but sustainable as well. Therefore, innovations and creativity should be demonstrated by developing countries in this regard.
Local banks and the private sector should help countries in which they operate, in this regard. As this happens, insurance companies should also be on the standby in order to take note of risks associated with green infrastructural development.
As a result, this would become collective efforts, not only to place it on the government’s shoulders, but also with the private sector complementing the efforts, for a complete cycle of climate solutions to be realised.
Developing countries should also not be short-changed in this regard. Resident offices for the green funders need to be established in beneficiary countries so that together with governments and responsible authorities, they can oversee the environmentally friendly infrastructural growth as well as its quality assurance obligations because quality is everything in this regard.
Awareness campaigns, information and education need to be established so that the residence and local communities in developing countries will be conscientised about the green discourses, green funding and green infrastructural development.
This is important for local communities to stay, knowing why such measures and steps ought to be taken in the first place. This is not only done to save the environment, but lives as well.
All in all, the idea of green infrastructural development is designed to instil discipline and critical thinking among citizens so that environmental destruction is managed.
Green infrastructure is not only an environmental requirement, but a human right as well.
Peter Makwanya is a climate change communicator. He writes in his capacity and can be contacted on: firstname.lastname@example.org