Green Economy: a strategy to alleviate urban poverty and safeguard the environment?

The global failure to develop in a sustainable manner has led to attempts to adopt green economy approaches in the context of poverty alleviation and sustainable development. Given South Africa’s high carbon footprint and other negative environmental externalities, the government, in partnership with civil society and the private sector, is taking steps to green its economy. The efforts range from large-scale solar installation projects to small-scale grassroots level projects where green jobs are created for the poor, predominantly women, by paying them for environmental services.

This paper addresses if and how green economy can be used to alleviate poverty and protect the environment at a grassroots level. In a project under the management of a local environmental non-governmental organisation (ENGO), poor urban women in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, are utilising the concept to generate income, improve their livelihoods and contribute to environmental sustainability. Green economy is in some ways addressing the gendered social and environmental externalities of urbanisation, wherein women are differentially poor and the environment is neglected in economic development. Left with few other options, the urban poor are using an ENGO and its green economy programme as a mechanism to lift themselves out of poverty, while indirectly managing the environment.

Available by Urban Forum via SpringerLink

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Publication Type Journal
Publisher Urban Forum
Year 2015
Author(s) S. Hlahla , A Goebel, and T. R. Hill
Other Numbers Volume 27: 1, pp. 113-127
DOI 10.1007/s12132-015-9263-7
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