2012 Theme: Green Economy: Does It Include You?
“Sustainability entails providing opportunity for all by balancing the social, economic and environmental dimensions of development. We have to rebut the myth that there is conflict between economic and environmental health. With smart policies and the right investments, countries can protect their environment, grow their economies, generate decent jobs and accelerate social progress.”
– United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon (June 5, 2012)
The theme of this year’s World Environment Day is “The Green Economy: Does It Include You?” This theme incorporates the UN’s desire to create economies that improve human well being while promoting social equality and reducing environmental risks. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon sees a future that is not only low carbon and resource efficient, but socially inclusive as well. The United Nations’ mission mirrors ours here at Village Enterprise, where we search for sustainable solutions to extreme poverty that integrates conservation tactics into micro-enterprise development. We see no conflict between economic and environmental health, but rather view them dependent upon one another.
Partnering with the Jane Goodall Institute, Village Enterprise has focused on conservation specifically in the Budongo Forest Reserve located in Western Uganda, home to more than 800 chimpanzees. If properly protected, the Budongo Forest would conserve 96% of the known population of eastern African chimpanzees.
Village Enterprise targets those living in extreme poverty within five kilometers of the reserve with the goal of improving behaviors towards the forest. It is impossible for those living hand to mouth to care about the environment; if there is no future for your family, there is no need to care about the future of the forest. By implementing additional conservation training sessions into their business and savings training curriculum to stress the importance of caring for the environment, our experienced mentor staff demonstrates how to make a living while being environmentally conscious. Such programs have reduced illegal activities such as hunting and pitsawing. The positive results have inspired expansion into other protected areas in East Africa. It has made such an impact on the beneficiaries themselves that they have even asked for more conservation training!
Since July of 2007, Village enterprise has launched over 840 “conservation-friendly” businesses in over 40 villages around the Budongo Forest Region, creating a more environmentally conscious culture while reducing poverty. By living in a sustainable way, our beneficiaries are able to focus on the future- not only the future of their family, but also the future of the environment around them.
The green economy includes you, so do your part today to not only go green, but also ensure that others are able to as well.
For more information on our conservation program click here.
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