Goal 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth

Adrienne Porter
sustainable development

Decent Work and Economic Growth

Each year the world is growing; more people, more economic stimulation, more production. The result is a United Nations GDP report that shows increases each year.

In the whole, economic stimulation is on the rise. Yet other areas are growing too. Unemployment and standard of living costs are rising.

sustainable development

Needless to say, this is not the growth the world is looking for.

The UN defines poverty as making less than two USD per day. Globally, half of the world lives in a range of poverty.

Poverty is not exclusive to people who do not have a job. In many areas, jobs are underpaying, and don’t allow their workers to come out of this poverty.

The inequality in job offerings created a focus around what the UN defines as “decent work”. Decent work means that a job has fair wages, opportunities, and protection both socially and in the workplace.

United Nations Goal #8 is to promote economic growth not for the sake of growth alone, but to better societies and the lives of people in them. Combining growth with decent work helps to do just that.

There are many areas that need to be explored in order to achieve this goal. Here at Forest Nation, we are very familiar with one of them; trees.

How Trees Can Help

Trees, when cared for, not only help produce sustainable energy and products, but sustainable jobs.

Jobs within sustainable forestry are estimated by the UN to include over 365 million people in the next 30 years. Talk about a positive growth rate, these jobs will increase by 90%.

Although their preservation is unmistakably important, sustainable forestry practices aren’t just limited to rural forests.

Potential to alleviate high poverty rates and provide decent work actually centres much of itself around urban areas.

Introducing urban forestry. Urban forestry includes the planning, planting, and maintaining of plant life in cities. This creates jobs on many different fronts. From growing seedlings, first-hand planting, education components, all the way to the end of a trees life.

That creates a lot of job opportunities.

That’s not all trees do.

Trees generate oxygen and help improve air quality. However, sustainability can be increased by eliminating waste at the end of a tree’s life as well.

Camp Small in Detroit does just this.

Camp Small uses an urban wood reuse program. These programs manage the waste from the city’s trees, cultivate the wood, and often sell it to create byproducts that fund future urban forestry projects.

These jobs not only are growing and open, but are often hiring people who previously were not able to be employed, or didn’t have decent work.

The city of Detroit has done this. Their urban forestry jobs have often hired people who were previously incarcerated or had jobs that didn’t match decent work standards.

Their success has been undeniable, holding up a high 93% job placement rate. These job opportunities have helped many people come to comfortable economic places, which benefits the entire city.

Urban Forestry and Urban Wood reuse programs are not the end all be all to poverty. However, their growth has helped thousands, and that’s just in the last few years.

Tees are not only oxygen makers, but job creators.

See how trees support all sustainable development goals here.

Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat from Pixabay.

Adrienne Porter
Adrienne is an undergrad in International Relations and Communication at SUNY Geneseo, New York. Outside of school, she can be found doing extracurriculars, hiking, or enjoying the sun. Adrienne has always prioritized giving back to the environment, and has found ways to do so both abroad and in her home town. She hopes to be able to continue helping the Earth with ForestNation.

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