Is your country green enough? (Intro 2/2)

Tags: Politics

When starting my challenge on each countries’ “green” development, I understood that it is needed to define about what exactly development I’m going to start investigating on: sustainable in general or just environmental sustainable? The chart below shows one of the way of presenting sustainability, as it consists of three spheres (Economy, Society, Environment) that are like matryoshka, interconnected to each other. Thus, studying sustainable development of each country would be not only about changes regarding environment, but also social aspects and economical, that would be just tremendous work to handle. That’s why I decided to focus only on environmental development which comes as the outcome of the socio-economic development.

This challenging side of the question was that the big amount of data has to be searched and quite much time spent to comprehend and analyze what aspects would be the most relevant and significant for further analysis and comparison. I admit, that there is high chance that many new aspects will be added during second main milestone of working on the challenge – composing an unite system for countries’ comparison by putting all analyzed data together.

I decided to separate found aspects in two groups, where first one concerns more general processes that directly impact environment and often dependent on general public (recycling, energy usage), while second category is more related to government politics on environment:

- Recycling rates (how many percentage of waste is recycled)
- What percentage of the waste is going to landfill
- Deforestation rate
- Mining and extraction of natural non-renewable resources (e.g. oil)
- Usage of renewable’s

- Taxation (e.g. taxes on amount of emitted CO2)
- Bans and restrictions (on plastic, landfills)
- Presence of governmental companies aiming on working with environmental issues
- Governmental participation and activity in international conferences, discussions (e.g. participating in Paris agreement in 2015)
- Applied mandatory standards, ISO regarding environment

To conclude, I’m quite sure that many aspects will be added during last phase of the research as more information and more people will be involved in it, so there is higher possibility that something will be corrected or changed. The concept of the idea is not new, but it is still quite challenging to do such massive and controversial study. Despite claiming that I’d focus mainly on environmental development, social and economic development are highly involved in this process as it can be seen from previous scheme. It’s interesting how different countries can perform on international political stages and inside the country, how different can be countries’ attitude towards environmental issues. I can’t wait to start putting pieces of this puzzle together to form a beautiful interactive map with countries being competitive on which one is doing the best on being the “greenest” among others.

Maria Vlasolva is continuing this challenge during session 2 and the final results of her research is available here.