A Green Recovery: The opportunities ahead

In July, Simon Eden published a paper on green recovery in collaboration with Green Halo and Future South. The introduction to this thought-provoking discussion is reproduced below while the full document can be accessed here.

2020. Not the year we expected it to be. Whatever it was supposed to be known for, it will forever be the year we went into lockdown. COVID – for all its disruption and destruction has perhaps given us a little glimpse into how we might rapidly transition toward a more prosperous, fair and environmentally aware society. If we can take some positives out of what has been a tragedy for many, then we absolutely should. The importance and urgency for our region is to recognise the best way to do this in a way that is right for us. To agree an action plan, pool resources and collectively move forward.

Nationally, there is a demand from the public for change. A recent survey, conducted for the not-for-profit advocacy group Positive Money by You Gov, found that 82% of members of the public questioned wanted the Government to prioritise the health and wellbeing of citizens over economic growth as they shaped a recovery. In the same survey 61% of respondents wanted improved social and environmental outcomes to be the Government’s priority.

In our region, a discussion convened by the Southern Policy Centre (SPC)1 has shown that a wide range of leaders from the public and private sector are looking for a recovery, which re-builds social cohesion in our communities and recognises our world-class environment as a shared asset that differentiates our area. Following that initial discussion, Future South2 and Green Halo3 have held a series of conversations with SPC, which have resulted in the production of a thought piece around the opportunities and active elements that could form part of our region’s response to a green recovery, post-COVID. It is not intended as a fait accompli, but simply a contribution to the conversations and discussions that are now taking place across the region.

The great news is that we can already point to activities, rich natural habitats and partnerships that give our region a head start. These are also the things that define us and make this place so very special, and suitable for a green recovery.

As we seek to re-build our economy and communities, so there is an opportunity to avoid a compartmentalised approach, and instead, consider how we can shape an economy that builds on our strengths and works for the environment and our communities.

In this paper, we have started to explore what a distinctive green recovery means, drawing from our rich assets and how that might help us recover more quickly; to a level that is more resilient and sustainable. For Nature, Economy and Society. Read the full report here.

1 http://southernpolicycentre.co.uk/policy-and-research/recovery-in-the-central-south-collaboration-for-growth/
2 https://www.futuresouth.org/about-us/
3 https://www.greenhalo.org.uk/about-green-halo/about-the-partnership/