Growth and Pollution
Some time ago, two photos depicting the evolution of Shanghai after China's economic reforms went viral. The first one represents the Shanghai of 1990 and the other shows the Shanghai of 2010, a city that, in just two decades, was touching the clouds with its skyscrapers.
There is no doubt that economic growth was rapid. However, there have been significant environmental and human health costs for the Asian country. Just last week, they set an air quality alert in the city, categorizing it as “moderately polluted”. The city’s residents had no alternative but to wait for the the winds to shift and clear most of the pollutants.
Shanghai is not the only city affected, of course, and it is not surprising that other region, such as Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, report severe pollution conditions, nor is China the only country with serious pollution issues. The historical evolution of China’s economic system, however, is a model to take into account when considering the challenges of modernizing our Island.
In Cuba, entrepreneurship and investments should meet the demands, needs and growth of the economic system, but should do so following a comprehensive strategy for environmental protection. This strategy should not only comply with environmental regulations, as demonstrated by the Chinese case, but should be at the core of the business plan to be implemented within the Island.
This green commitment of businesses can not be assumed as a simple tool of public relations or political dividends, but as part of the values and vision of entrepreneurial projects. Fortunately, many international examples show how you can comply with ethical imperatives and also obtain strong economic incentives in implementing green technologies.
The Cubans are proud of the natural beauty of the Island and its economic reforms. The alert effort of entrepreneurs and workers can help preserve and enhance the extraordinary wealth it represents.