The term ‘green economy’ is a common one used by businesses to describe a sustainable business model that is based on sustainable production and use of energy.
In many ways, it is a powerful, yet simplistic concept, one that we’ve all heard before, but for some it has a lot more depth.
The term ‘sustainable’ has become so much a part of our everyday language that we have become used to it being used as shorthand to refer to anything that is environmentally friendly, green or environmentally friendly.
But the term ‘eco-friendly’ has also come to mean something entirely different.
Inevitably, there is a debate about whether ‘sustainability’ should be used in this way.
The word ‘sustained’ is used to describe this sort of ‘solution’ in terms of sustainable production methods, and ‘sensitive’ to describe how the energy produced can be used effectively.
But in reality, there are more than two types of sustainable business: those that are actively seeking to avoid or minimize the use of fossil fuels and other sources of carbon pollution, and those that seek to maximise the use and sustainability of natural resources, especially water.
One of the most influential business-to-business discussions of the past decade has been between the environmental activist group Greenpeace and the water company Aqua.
Both sides of the debate, however, seem to have a common point: water should be seen as a resource, and not a commodity.
Greenpeace argues that water should not be treated as a commodity to be bought and sold like commodities, but rather as a valuable asset that should be protected from commodification and that its value should be based on its potential to protect the environment and sustain human life.
An example of this approach is the idea that the water should only be used for the purpose of drinking, not to irrigate crops, or for irrigation, but that any other use should be permitted only if it is not in breach of the law.
As we are in the midst of the worst drought in our history, water in many parts of the world is becoming scarce, and we have the ability to provide water to millions of people at a low cost.
However, there have also been a number of instances in which water has been diverted for irrigation purposes, and in some places the water has become contaminated with chemicals, chemicals that are used in industry.
Aqua also advocates that water be treated differently, and that the use not only of water should take into account the ecological consequences of water usage, but also the potential environmental benefits, which in turn should be considered.
And the debate is about to intensify.
There has been a lot of talk about the global water crisis and how the use, pollution and loss of water will have a massive impact on the global economy, with the potential for significant losses in the billions.
However, the fact is that the impacts are likely to be smaller than the impacts of the carbon pollution caused by the use or contamination of water.
It’s possible that the effects of water pollution could be small or even positive, and if water is a scarce resource, it’s likely that the pollution would be relatively small compared to the costs associated with water consumption.
These are the kinds of issues that we will have to grapple with as we seek to adapt to this growing global water scarcity.
While there is little doubt that we can and should address the issues raised by the water crisis, it seems that the debate about how we do so is going to get even more intense in the coming months.
Read more from New Scientist: How much do you know about water?
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