Efficient, Economical and Eco-friendly – Firewood Has it All

If you’re looking for a fuel that’s as environmentally friendly as it is efficient, seasoned firewood is as good as it gets. Most people enjoy staring into the flickering flames of a log fire, but there are still many urban myths about whether burning firewood is a good thing.

Explode some of the myths by taking time to talk to your local tree surgeon before you place your next firewood order. Or perhaps you have trees in your garden or on your land that you’re thinking of having taken down or reduced in height.

Contrary to what some people might think, tree surgeons are not chop-happy, chainsaw-wavers cutting a swathe through the countryside! They are, or should be, qualified caring conservationists who do valuable work in preserving the look of the British countryside as we all know and love it. They can advise you on the best way to care for your trees and when and if surgery may be the best option, which may provide you with valuable firewood stocks, once the cut logs have had time to season.

And just as you would never dream of letting an unqualified doctor or dentist perform surgery on your body, do make sure that the tree surgeon you choose is qualified and fully insured.

When it comes to sustainability, a tree surgeon has a vested interest in making sure there are plenty of trees to fuel the log fires of future generations. Harvesting firewood from a sustainable source is vital to their work. Many tree surgeons sell firewood as a by-product of their tree surgery work. They are often called in by local authorities and land-owners to remove trees which are diseased or dangerous. The resulting wood, cut into logs and properly seasoned, provides excellent firewood.

Unlike fossil fuel, burning firewood adds virtual no carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, and trees are a renewable resource. Replanting often follows removal of dead trees, providing a sustainable source of firewood for the future. And carefully managed copping and thinning of traditional woodland is doing a great deal to prevent the loss or decline of woodland wildlife.

As well as making environmental and financial sense for the home owner, choosing logs as a source of home heating also has a major role to play in rural economies, by providing local employment through sustainable development.

So the next time you see a man with a chainsaw, why not see if he’s got a few minutes for a chat? You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how passionate and knowledgeable he is about the environment.

How Much Impact Could We Make by Co-Ordinating All the Current Food and Environmental Projects?

Fruit, vegetables, cocoa, coffee, tea are all things we take for granted on UK supermarket shelves but how many shoppers know that they originated in Africa or were made from African produce?

UK shoppers spend about 1 million every day on food products from Africa, including some Fairtrade items.

The focus on climate change and on food miles, however, has created misunderstanding about the sustainability of food from African and highlighted how little we know about how the resulting changed shopping habits have impacted on developing countries.

Almost 75% of Africans relay totally on agriculture for their livings and severl million of them rely partly on selling produce to the UK to enable many of them to escape poverty.

Most UK consumers support the idea of making their shopping choices reduce poverty. However, they also worry about other issues such as price, food safety, the environment and animal welfare.

Now, to add to the pressure comes a new report this month (July 2010) saying that climate change threatens to undo years of work to tackle poverty in developing countries.

Forum for the Future’s study emphasised the need for strong action in poor countries to tackle climate change but in tandem with efforts to boost economic development and it said international aid’s efforts to tackle poverty should factor in climate change and measures to help poor countries adapt to its effects.

It wants them to avoid promoting high-carbon development and to help developing nations deal with the impact of climate change and seize new opportunities created by global movement to a more low-carbon economy.

The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) supported the Forum’s latest report and also has its own initiative, FRICH Food Retail Industry Challenge to support the development of trade in food from Africa to the UK.

No in its third round of bidding the Challenge asks food supply and distribution business with their supply chain partners to test and develop innovative business models to bring new and higher volumes of food products from Africa to UK while improving the livelihoods of African producers.

So far it has funded seven challenges. They include Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate, seller of a famous Yorkshire Tea, which is working with Rwanda’s tea authority, tea factory owners, the Rainforest Alliance and the farmers who supply the factories to develop a sustainable supply of quality tea for their famous Yorkshire Tea brand. Rwanda tea is now on UK supermarket shelves as a Yorkshire Gold ‘seasons pick’

The Co-operative has long supported Fairtrade and is working with tea supplier Finlay Beverages, the Cooperative College UK and Africa Now to deliver the benefits of both Fairtrade and the co-operative business model for sustainable livelihoods for 8,000 small-scale tea farmers in Kericho, South-West Kenya.

Waitrose has been helping growers to adapt their cultivation and production processes to meet the environmental requirements of the LEAF Marque standard as a way of spreading the message of sustainable agricultural practices across Africa. The LEAF Marque guarantee for UK fresh grown produce has been used by Waitrose for the past three years and the company has now committed to helping all its suppliers to use environmentally responsible practices.

The third Challenge Fund bidding round invites UK companies to offer projects that will promote trade to some of the poorest countries north of South Africa and south of the Sahara

Its aims are enhancing productivity and adding value to any sector of the supply chain from the start in food production, through processing, storage, to compliance, financing or procurement

It also aims to extend the benefits of export supply chains to producers currently unable to meet market requirements or insufficiently established as export growers to be able to attract commercial investment in their operations.

Its third focus is expanding UK consumer demand for African produce in the face of concerns about food miles, environmental conservation, labour standards and food safety.

Search around a bit and it’s possible to find any number of inventive pieces providing some solutions to the complex puzzle of climate change, environment and food scarcity.

They can be small and local – such as the Indian village treadle-powered irrigation system that has stabilised and improved cultivation there – or slightly larger like the FRICH Challenge focusing on a particular world region.

Or they can be potentially far-reaching – like the Biopesticides Developers’ invention of promising new low-chem agricultural products such as biofungicides and yield enhancers to play their part in helping combat climate change and pests while increasing yield sustainably to help farmers, both small and larger.

It would be nice if all these disparate elements were co-ordinated to work in tandem to making access to food and a reasonable income fairer around the world alongside a significant global impact on preserving the environment.

Key Steps In Developing New Workplace Health Policies

The direct commitment of senior management and the participation of employees in the development of workplace health policies are an essential prerequisite to the successful implementation of policies that are designed to address the real needs of the working community.

The following main steps and/or activities should be considered in the development and implementation of workplace health management at the enterprise level:

· Develop a short policy statement from the employer or senior executive that explicitly states senior management’s commitment to and acceptance of responsibility for the health management strategy within the company.

· Educate managers and workers on the impact of environmental, occupational and lifestyle factors on their health and social well-being and on the economic situation and competing ability of the company to facilitate their participation in health management.

· Determine the role of the medical, nursing, environmental and safety experts and other professionals needed to assist in the implementation of the health management strategy in the company.

· Discuss economic appraisal of existing and projected outcomes to health, safety, and environmental health from the activities of the company.

· Train staff in quality management principles and standards to be used for the workplace health management system. These are the same as those applied to quality assurance in the management of manufacturing, servicing or marketing operations.

· Assure participation of management and employees in the development and implementation of workplace health management systems in the company.

· Develop adequate tools for monitoring and evaluation of health, safety, social, economic and environmental outcomes to determine the impact on well-being of employees and competitiveness of the company.

· Introduce systematic internal auditing and evaluation to be able to make necessary adjustments to the workplace health management system of the company.

· External audit by a recognized certifying body, if necessary.

Key steps in implementing workplace health Policies

The prerequisite for establishing good practice in workplace health management in companies is the conscious and creative support as well as the fullest possible participation of senior management, employees and their trade union representatives.

They would co-operate in the development of the workplace health policy and in its implementation with the assistance of appropriate experts, e.g. from occupational health services, environmental health services or health promotion agencies, preferably from multidisciplinary preventive services. Quality management systems and internal and external auditing is believed to be supportive to the creation and maintenance of a healthy enterprise (29). Leading companies are increasingly integrating their health management and environment management into the overall corporate management system. The health and environment policy of the company determines targets, define processes, and assure financial and human resources necessary to act on the health determinants and improve social and physical environments in order to:

  • Create the greatest gain in health and working ability for the entire staff, and if possible, also for their families
  • Provide a safe and healthy working environment for employees while preserving the general environment and health of people living outside the premises
  • provide healthy and environmentally friendly products and services
  • ensure human rights of the entire staff

Coming up in the next chapter ” Key Benefits of Workplace Health Management

Sustainable Development On The Stump – Environmental Policies Of Obama, Clinton, And Mccain

How will U.S. environmental and energy policies look in 2009? With the primaries winding down, we’re starting to get a better idea. Senator Barack Obama fancies himself on this issue, as on most, a man of vision. Senator Clinton calls above all for accountability. The presumed nominee of the Republican Party, Senator John McCain, has very noble beliefs. Because recent polling shows that environmental issues like global warming aren’t at the top of voter priorities, it is doubly important to press candidates about clarifying their positions. So, what are candidates saying now about environmental and energy policies?

Obama’s rabble rousing oratory capacities have awed and inspired many; however if you watch a clip of him on the stump it is easy enough to see how he is guilty of espousing what one journal describes as a “vague uplift”. While hardly a death blow, this claim is at present especially damaging for its implicit contrast to the “crisp detail” famously proffered, and willingly delivered on cue, by the Clinton machine.

Not so in the policy literature. Hillary’s showing is respectable, to be sure; however it is Obama’s campaign webpage that wins my top marks for clear, effective and economical presentation of his intended approach. In the field of carbon emissions, he aims to impose a market-based cap-and-trade system with the ultimate goal of reducing emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by mid-century. He would utilize some of the revenues generated in carbon-credit auctions to ease the burden of those negatively impacted by the enormous economic transition.

Obama believes in a massive investment in clean energy initiatives. As president he would “invest $150 billion over 10 years to advance the next generation of biofuels and fuel infrastructure”, with the specific goal of ensuring that newly developed technologies are commercialized and brought to market in the United States and beyond. He would pursue an ambitious campaign to double funding for energy research and development. He would invest to ensure labor supply in a “clean technologies workforce” and to bring clean technologies to manufacturing centers such as Detroit. Obama would actively pursue the development of coal technologies cleaner than those which are presently in use. His hope to move toward oil independence is founded on the improvement of fuel efficiency standards. To do this he would provide guarantees to auto manufacturers that experiment with new engines and lightweight materials. This would be parcel to a broader national campaign of efficiency improvement; other incentives would include grants for local governments that implement building codes more favorable to energy efficiency.

The final pillar of his environmental policy is the restoration of American leadership on climate change. He would create a new Global Energy Forum to facilitate communication amongst the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases, and would further pursue coordination within the framework of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Senator Clinton’s proposals are remarkably similar to Obama’s on a number of levels. She too favors a cap-and-trade system which would see 100% of permits auctioned; she too hopes to invest $150 billion over ten years in “new energy” (some of the bills to be footed by corporations); and she too hopes to double federal investment in energy research. She has established timetables of national goals for energy reduction and use of clean energy similar to those of Obama. And finally, she too favors efforts to increase automobile fuel efficiency, specifically through the provision of $20 billion in “Green Vehicle Bonds” to American automakers. It would be interesting to see a chronological side-by-side of their respective policy evolutions.

In her traditional mass appeal to America’s middle and lower-middle classes, there is finally something of a differentiation, if it is more one of form than function. In addition to supporting “green collar” jobs, she would seek to modernize 20 million existing low income homes to improve energy efficiency. She would initiate a “Connie Mae” program to ease the acquisition of green homes by low and middle-income Americans. And finally she would require all new federal buildings to comply with zero-emissions specifications.

There is one commendable initiative unique to Clinton. She would oblige publicly-traded companies to include estimations of financial risk posed by climate change in annual reports submitted to the federal Securities and Exchange Commission. However such a policy might be of limited effectiveness if companies included the estimations only to appease the requirement without genuine regard for its implication.

To end the investigation, it is John McCain who receives poor marks, not for benevolence of intentions but for clarity of vision. In five short and murky paragraphs, it is he who commits the sin of “vague uplift”, failing to elicit a single clear policy initiative through verbose allusions to the forces of a cap-and-trade regime. In the spirit of Teddy Roosevelt he believes in preserving America’s natural majesty. His belief that “America’s economic and environmental interests are not mutually exclusive, but rather inextricably linked” is all fine and well. But I would hope to see a more clear-eyed expression of his means to this end. In a video clip tagged to the page, the Senator expresses his belief that the United States should join the Kyoto Protocol if China and India could be brought onboard. This suggests another debate which I evoked in last week’s column concerning the respective sacrifices of developed and developing nations in the battle to cut greenhouse emissions. Finally, citing the instability of many oil-producing states, McCain too advocates energy independence for the United States. America has been a net importer of oil for decades; true independence is only achievable through the intensive use of renewables and a great push to improve conventional fuel efficiency.

I hazard to presume that more specific policy proposals will become readily available from the McCain campaign as November approaches.

Copyright (c) 2008 Daniel Lafleche

Environmental Hazards In Africa – Save Our Community of Africa

UNHEALTHY COMMUNITY AND ENVINROMENT: SAVE OUR COMMUNITY AFRICA

Humans have doubtless been altering their local environments since arriving in the scene as a distinct species several hundred thousand years ago. Our debut as major actors on the global stage – actors comparable in influence to the classic roles played by erosion, volcanism, natural selection, and the like- is a much more recent phenomenon. This dates back at most several thousand years, but has accelerated greatly in scope and influence over the last several centuries. According to Crutzen (2002) ” We live today in what may be called the “Anthropocene” – a new geologic epoch in which human kind has emerged as a globally significant – and potentially intelligent – force capable of reshaping the face of the planet”. The Italian geologist Anthonio Stoppani (1873) was describing humanity’s activities as a “new telluric force, which in power and universality may be compared to the greater forces of the Earth”. Several international conferences have been held to tackle environmental problems. Examples are, UN conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, 1992, World summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg in 2002, etc. The need for harnessing science and technology in support of efforts to achieve the goal of environmentally sustainable human development in the Anthropocene was generally recognized at the Johannesburg Summit. Environmental hazards are contemporary issue in Africa but before I delve into the causes of the problems and some solutions, I would give some definitions and features of environment. I shall also use Nigeria (an African Country) as a case study because of the limitations of the work.

DEFINITIONS AND FEATURES OF ENVIRONMENT

The unfortunate older, wrong and simplistic definition of environment is that it is the resource that was created for human use. It is that mechanical aspect that exists to serve human beings. This definition is unfortunate and wrong for it explained environment as something inanimate; something in at that exists solely for human recreation pleasures and needs. The background to this definition includes the anthropological, religious, psychological, economic and philosophical explanations of the origin and nature of the environment. Environment is also defined as the natural in which people, animals and plants live. Uchebu (1998) categorized the environment into physical and non-physical. The physical environment includes land (Terrestrial) Air, Water (Acquatic) environments and non-physical – cultural and socio- economic environment. The environment therefore functions according to Kankwenda (2001) as:

(1) A source of raw materials and energy (non – renewable resources);
(2) A provider of services such as maintenance of climatic system/stability and ecological cycle (renewable resources) including forest, agriculture land, water etc;
(3) And a sink for waste.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS

Environmental problems are about the central issue of the twentieth and twenty-first (20th -21st ) centuries. This is because the hazards, which are contained in it, are as deep and grave as they are long lasting in its effect to MAN and the eco-system itself. According to the “Awake” magazine, mankind is presently sitting on a time-bomb on account of environmental effects either in form of weaponry and/or pollutions and hazards such as flooding, drought, soil erosion, deforestation, volcanity, earthquakes, radio-chemical hazards etc.

Nigeria as a nation encompasses multiple climate which requires and sraddles various physiographic units. There are various ecological zones ranging from Sahel Savanna, Sudan Savanna and Guinea Savanna through Rain forest to Mangroves and Swamp forests. The various ecological zones respond differently to the impact of human activities by virtue of their natural stress response capabilities and inherent carry capabilities. The Sahelian Savanna is highly susceptible to desertification; the Sudan Savanna can barely cope with human pressures emanating from rapidly growing populations, fuel woods, harvesting and cattle grazing. The Guinea zone is ordinarily subjected to pressures as a natural buffer between the encroaching desert and the forest belt. The Rain forest belt is under excessive pressure through poor regulation and over-exploitation of forest products and other economic activities that result in clearing of vast area of land. Compounding this, especially in the Niger Delta area, is the large scale exploration, exploitation and processing activities by the petroleum industry, which have left their impact through crude oil and petroleum product spillages, gas flaring – related problems, land degradation and depletion of farm lands, water pollution and deterioration of critical habitats for fish stock. Occurrence of soil and gully erosion, especially in the eastern part of Nigeria, flooding in the low lying belt of mangrove and fresh water swamps, and uncontrolled logging with its inherent problems of destruction and loss of bio-diversity have immensely contributed towards further exacerbation of the deteriorating environmental scenario.

The above are the various causes and effects of environmental hazards in Nigeria. But there are major noticeable changes in the environment as a result of human pressure on it. These include viz

(1) Loss of biodiversity resulting in reduced variety of genetic strains, species and ecosystems, depletion and extinction of species etc.
(2) Increasing rate of soil degradation and desertification as well as air and water pollution.
(3) Increase in green houses gases that are expected to lead to an increase in the mean global temperature of 200 to 500C.(Global Warming)
(4) Massive release of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) into the stratosphere resulting in increasing ultraviolet radiation from the sun due to depletion of ozone layer

PROGNOSIS FOR THE FUTURE

The prognosis for continued and sustainable improvements in human well being on a transformed environment is, at best, guarded. The two broad causes of environmental hazards are the industrially caused environmental pollution and the wasteful private consumption by whole population living under modern urban conditions. Whereas the former evil is done by a very limited number of humanity, the latter is perpetrated by the whole humanity whose greed has been fired by advertising following the industrial age to want to have more and more things and wastes the resources of nature. Consequently, while political regulations, laws, civil movements/pressure groups can force industries to safeguard the environment. Such coercive and institutional measures cannot work for the pollution by the whole citizenry. Rather a change of attitude and action towards environmental sustainability would be based on the voluntary action of individuals. Because whatever affects and pollutes the environment is also of effect to us. I therefore canvass for an approach or relation between man and environment called “Ecocentrism”. The spirit behind this approach is to posit that environment is actually animate in the sense of being alive. It is therefore wrong to interpret environment as inert or inanimate.

Thus, the practical way forward for man to check environmental pollution and hazards according to Chigbo Joseph are viz

- Limit consumption of resources to a minimum and devise ways to use waste products in production.
- Making maximum use of the physical energy of the human body in order to maintain greater human health.
- Caution on use of the artificials additives to foods and other chemical products and be aware that harm almost invariably accompanies whatever good these substances do.
- Scientists and technologists to be ethically/humbly centered in their research and production
- Leaders to be imbued with the consciousness of saving man and the planet earth in their decisions.

In addition to the above, there should be establishment of regulatory agencies with varying powers to monitor and effectively control the sources of pollutants. Example is FEPA – Federal Environmental Protection Agency/Federal Ministry of Environment.

In a nutshell, the environment is a complex and delicate system which (I) if properly managed it can be geared to productive and domestic aesthetic and even spiritual requirements (ii) when poorly managed, the environment could easily become hazardous and threatening to human survival.

Aquaponics And Its Economic And Environmental Benefits

Aquaponics is a combination of hydroponics and aquaculture (fish farming). This is a symbiotic relationship, where fish wastes become the food source for plants, and the plants in turn provide a natural filter for the fish. This managed ecosystem is becoming increasingly popular as food sources and groundwater have become increasingly tainted.

Aquaponics is an ideal answer to recycle nutrient rich “fishy” water and the hydroponic enthusiasts’ need for nutrient rich solution. The best part in this environmental and friendly system is that everything is organic with no chemicals added.

Still in its infancy, aquaponics is following a steady upward growth curve. The obvious hydroponic benefits include: elimination of fertilizer costs and associated labor. The dramatic reduction of the filtration of fish waste is the main benefit afforded in aquaculture.

A homebased aquarium which has either food fish or ornamental fish, is simple to integrate with not so large hydroponic system to cultivate garden-fresh vegetables, herbs and flowers. A number of backyard farmers are in the process of developing aquaponics frameworks that supply enough fish and produce for their family.

Aquaponics is about to become an important new part of urban food production in major world cities- especially on roofs, on walls and within buildings. It is becoming a new form of urban organic farming, with a touch of magic in the provision of more health promoting omega-3 oil, an essential oil that most human diets sorely need.

In modern aquaponics fish, molluscs and crustaceans are fed recycled food nutrients. Micro-organisms then covert fish wastes to plant food. Fish, crustaceans, molluscs, herbs, vegetables and fruit become superior fresh foods with little or no transport or energy costs. The water cleaned by the plants is used again in the tanks, and costs are reduced considerably. Fresh food transport costs are virtually eliminated. It is ingenious human mimicry of Mother Nature.

Aquaponics is a word adopted in the United States, about 35 years ago to describe the combination of farming aquatic animals and animals (fish, crustaceans and molluscs) with the growing of vegetables and fruits in organic-hydroponic. In Australia for example, it is about to become a modern, organic form of sensible urban agriculture using LED-lit technology driven by solar power, and incorporating the recycling of clean urban organic matter with the provision of omega-3 oils in fresh foods.

The technology has its roots in China and Central America more than 1000 years ago. Chinese rice growers grew fish in their flooded paddies. Until Spanish conquistadores ruined their simple systems, the Aztecs and Incas had ‘chinampas’ where channelled city sewage pondings grew fish in water, fruit and vegetables on rafts.

It is now a most sensible food system integrating that has been largely overlooked in human kind’s blind adoption of unsustainable, industrial exploitation of soil and water. The major inputs in aquaponics are in fish feed and expert labour to tend and harvest the double-cropping system. At its best, the aquaponics fish are herbivores and omnivores that can use locally produced feed containing omega-3 oils.

Fresh produce from aquaponics is healthier local food for humans. It has less harmful fats, sugars and carbohydrates and more omega-3 oils, for sounder human diets. Aquaponics with added technology is also promising cheaper fresh food in “protected agriculture” systems next to home kitchens, restaurants and food services facilities.

Some companies’ plan is to develop a modular system for aquaponic, enclosed in a protected, climate controlled environment to minimize pests and diseases. New technologies in water, food nutrient recycling and power supply will minimize developments costs and minimize speed to local markets only very short distances away. This new technology is aimed at world markets for efficient urban agriculture that costs less for city supplies of healthy, fresh food.

Modules of aquaponics are being merged into more efficient local food production units, with the plan to put these systems together in a new way, offering them within a portable, low-cost building that can be re-packaged and transported to another site, if necessary. Such buildings and equipment will be offered as urban and rural franchises or for sale as second step aid packages when disasters adversely affect local food supplies.

However, the biggest short-term opportunity for aquaponics lies in the city’s retrofit rooftop gardeners and green roofs and green walls. Aquaponics is an environmental friendly practice and should be embraced because of the above mentioned benefits.

Another Economic Bubble Burst Ahead – China? (Part 3)

In the second part of this article, the author elaborated on some of the negative and positive ramifications of China’s pace of economic growth. Now, in this final part of the article the author will continue with the implications of the economic growth and changes that needs to be made and the collaborative effort required to forestall any future economic failure.

Judiciously, to allay the fears of skeptics and expedite its strategic investments on the international scene, the Chinese government would have to deal with the political and economic freedom parameters especially corruption which is a real killer of economic growth as outlined in the second part of this article. Meanwhile, it is expected that China’s strategic investment in the developing and underdeveloped part of the world would increase because of its estranged relationship with the western world. Furthermore, with the Chinese government and investors losing interest in investments in the low interest US treasuries and bond primarily due to the fiscal imbalance (that is massive U.S deficit) and the plummeting of the dollar, Chinese investors may be compelled to pursue a new sense of investment direction. Unfortunately, such a redirection of investment has negative impact on the U.S deficit whose source of funding is substantially through the sale of treasuries and bonds to these investors. As a matter of fact, a greater percentage of United States huge foreign debt is underwritten by China.

Accordingly, a reduction in the purchases of the US securities would lead to a rise in interest rates which could partially affect the investment sector in the U.S exacerbating the unemployment situation. Moreover, it appears China is under pressure in the last few years to distance itself from the U.S its main trading partner and pursue its ambitious economic agenda. For example, in 2005, China decided to un-peg its currency the renminbi (whose basic unit is the yuan) from the dollar and to let it float followed by the revaluation of the currency. Also, in the past year China together with the BRIC countries (that is Brazil, Russia, India & China) tried to convince the world about the volatility and incompetency of the US dollar as a world’s reserved currency and the need for a switch to another currency. Supposedly, the dependence of the United States foreign debt on China must be an issue of concern for both countries because of its proclivity towards power transference from United States to China. All these developments are a foreboding of what is in the pipeline.

The next issue of concern is the effect of its population on the sustainability of its economic growth. There is a wide disparity in income distribution and purchasing power between the rural poor and the urban rich in China. Consequently, the urban rich percentage contribution towards domestic demand far exceeds that of the rural poor. These factors coupled with demographic and migration report from the United Nations predicting that by 2015, the percentage of the urban and the rural population would be almost equal ( 50% each) substantiates the need for strategies to bridge the purchasing power disparity.

Thoughtfully, it would require initiating more projects in the rural areas to improve upon their lives so that their contribution towards domestic demand can parallel that of the urban folks. Remember, a prior analysis in the first part of this article revealed that a higher portion of the GDP growth emanates from domestic demand. That supports the notion that if China is to maintain its economic pace in the midst of the global slump in demand for exports then it would have to close the standard of living gap between the urban and rural folks.

Another subject worth deliberating on is the energy needs. Environmental pollution concerns are imminent when one considers China’s growing energy need. As matter of fact currently over 70% of its energy comes from coal and natural gas both non-renewable energy sources and potential contributors to acid-rain formation and global warming. The growing energy needs suggest an increase in dependence on oil and coal. However, the country cannot continue to depend on non-renewable sources energy for it supply and should consider stepping up its investment into the renewable energy source to obviate any future environmental disasters. The growing international pressure on countries to pursue environmental friendly industrial practices encompassing cost effective measures and accountability for carbon emissions should gravitate with the concerns of Chinese authorities.

Truly, in the past environmental cost has been trivial and the contribution of the cost of damage to the environment on operational cost has been negligible. The story is expected to change after the just ended climate change conference in Copenhagen as several nations operational cost would increase due to the active inclusion of environmental cost in the cost of doing business. In the interim some austerity measures may be required from China. For example, the country would have to step up its regulatory framework in order to be able regulate effectively and efficiently its growing industrial and manufacturing sector. Remember, China is second to the US in the industrial and manufacturing sector of the world. Obviously, effective regulatory measures would increase cost but it’s worth it for the Chinese people and the rest of the world. Studies show that pollution cost forms about 7-10% of China’s GDP each year. That means if the country is to effectively pursue the UN regulations agree upon recently, this cost would definitely increase operational cost and reduce expected profits.

Another factor that needs to be considered is the need for human capital the key to higher productivity and sustainability. The lagging behind of human capital can greatly retard productivity as is being experienced by a country like Denmark currently. In actuality, there is a causal relationship between productivity and human capital. Accordingly, if China is to keep up with its pace of economic growth then there is the need for revitalization of its educational sector to augment its human capital. It is true that China is advancing in technology ahead of the world but this is only sustainable with increasing level of human capital which is an integral part of the bedrock of productivity. Also, human capital is paramount to innovation, entrepreneurship, research and development all principal promoters of productivity. Innovation is needful in the energy and infrastructural sectors to meet its growing energy needs and its urbanization programs.

Now, in spite of some negative connotations associated with the economic growth, China should be commended for attainment of this high level of economic growth. Having the highest amount of foreign exchange reserves and recently overtaking Germany as the world’s largest exporter in 2009 is a laudable accomplishment which epitomizes China as an unprecedented economic super power and also an industrious nation. The fact is that no country can achieve such a distinctive status without infringement or petty international violations. Ultimately, much as the western world would want to see China comply with trade laws and the likes, they should also be ready to work with the country to ensure the sustainability of its economic growth. It is an indisputable fact that China is currently the locomotive engine of the world economy with worldwide strategic investments whose tentacles permeate even to the remotest parts of the world. So any expert in how a train operates would tell you what happens to the coaches when the engine derails or fails. In fact, there is a high probability of the coaches also derailing or failing if the engine derails or fails. Thus any failure of the Chinese economic system would spread pervasively to almost every economy of the world sending the world into another era of recession.

By now, the world has learned from experience the repercussions of the failure of the United States economy plunging the world economy into recession and would not want a repeat of such an occurrence with China. Let’s not forget the fact that just as no economy was immune to the impact from the United States case, so be it for no economy in the world should the unexpected happen to China. Therefore, China would need the assistance and cooperation of the world especially the major economies to be able to control its macro-economic and political factors to ensure the sustainability of its economy and prevent economic super heating which is antecedent to an economic bubble burst. There are some who believe that all the pursuits of China have the objective of marginalizing United States and Europe and would want to be pessimistic about the future of the Chinese economy. However, united we stand divided we fall. Passivity is the key.

Finally, I would not want to complete this article without elucidating the fact that the attainment of such an economic status of leadership in manufacturing, technology and possibly the financial sector can be coupled with the attainment of superior military power. In reality, superior military power is primarily a result of the adoption of a superior military technology. Thus, the propensity by an economic super power to adopt and use its technological know-how leadership to create a superior military is inevitable. Another dimension of the technological leadership is the ability to infiltrate other country’s military system or security systems or better still hack the system.

Conclusion

Several economic empires have come and gone and unfortunately the demise of these empires termed economic bubble burst has often sent economic shock waves to the rest of the world. It is in the light of these developments that the world is wondering whether China the reigning economic empire would follow the same fate. Macro-economic factors describing the Chinese economy namely GDP, current account balance, CPI, inflation and foreign exchange reserves are currently favorable. Superficially, it is possible to think that China’s pace of economic growth is sustainable and there is no cause for alarm. However, a critical look at the economy reveals the need for a review of its policies that governs its economic freedom, political freedom and its international deliberations all of which can gravitate towards the initiation of an economic bubble burst. The long term absence of which could wreck the current pace of economic growth with reverberations to the rest of the world. Finally, it must be emphasized that China cannot do it alone and would need the cooperation of the world especially the major economies to ensure the sustainability of its economy and that of the world.