The MCG approach is action-oriented, pluralistic, multi-level and transnational. Anyone who is willing can make a start and contribute NOW. While the initiative is pursued at the UN and international levels, progress can be made more rapidly at the grass roots.
Many communities, companies and cities have already announced targets for carbon emissions, energy and water conservation, etc., which constitute their own form of MCG. Those who take early action will be at a competitive advantage, as we enter a future constrained by resource shortages.
Individual action can also make a difference. I have already set out one personal MCG – to ensure that my (considerable) international travel is fully carbon neutral in 2011 and thereafter. Air travel is the cause of the great bulk of my GHG emissions. Here is my plan. First, I am reducing my air travel to the minimum possible, by substituting for it with videoconferencing, teleconferencing and other types of electronic communication.
Second, for the irreducible overseas travel I have to undertake, the resulting carbon emissions will be offset by planting trees. A carbon calculator is used to estimate the greenhouse gases from my air travel. I am a stakeholder in a small carbon offset company, which will then plant trees to absorb the appropriate amount of carbon from the atmosphere. I am able to personally inspect the growth of “my” trees.
Finally, there are many other benefits. The whole process helps to make development more sustainable in Sri Lanka, in environmental, economic and social terms. The trees provide environmental benefits like watershed and soil protection, nutrient recycling and other ecosystem services. Economic and social gains also occur, because the tree plantation is managed by several small farmers. They now have sustainable livelihoods that help them emerge from poverty, and support families with young children who need food, clothing, shelter and school supplies.
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