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SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Sustainable development is a pattern of resource use that aims to meet human


needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in
the present, but in the indefinite future. The term was used by the Brundtland
Commission which coined what has become the most often-quoted definition of
sustainable development as development that "meets the needs of the present
without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."[1]

Sustainable development ties together concern for the carrying capacity of natural
systems with the social challenges facing humanity. As early as the 1970s
"sustainability" was employed to describe an economy "in equilibrium with basic
ecological support systems"[2]. Ecologists have pointed to the “limits of growth”[3]
and presented the alternative of a “steady state economy”[4] in order to address
environmental concerns.

The field of sustainable development can be conceptually broken into three


constituent parts: environmental sustainability, economic sustainability and
sociopolitical sustainability

Scope and definitions

The concept has included notions of weak sustainability, strong sustainability and
deep ecology. Sustainable development does not focus solely on environmental
issues. The United Nations 2005 World Summit Outcome Document refers to the
"interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars" of sustainable development as
economic development, social development, and environmental protection.

Indigenous people have argued, through various international forums such as the
United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the Convention on
Biological Diversity, that there are four pillars of sustainable development, the
fourth being cultural. The Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (UNESCO,
2001) further elaborates the concept by stating that "...cultural diversity is as
necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature”; it becomes “one of the roots
of development understood not simply in terms of economic growth, but also as a
means to achieve a more satisfactory intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual
existence". In this vision, cultural diversity is the fourth policy area of sustainable
development.

Economic Sustainability: Agenda 21 clearly identified information, integration, and


participation as key building blocks to help countries achieve development that
recognises these interdependent pillars. It emphasises that in sustainable
development everyone is a user and provider of information. It stresses the need to
change from old sector-centred ways of doing business to new approaches that
involve cross-sectoral co-ordination and the integration of environmental and social
concerns into all development processes. Furthermore, Agenda 21 emphasises that
broad public participation in decision making is a fundamental prerequisite for
achieving sustainable development.

According to Hasna, sustainability is a process which tells of a development of all


aspects of human life affecting sustenance. It means resolving the conflict between
the various competing goals, and involves the simultaneous pursuit of economic
prosperity, environmental quality and social equity famously known as three
dimensions (triple bottom line) with is the resultant vector being technology, hence
it is a continually evolving process; the ‘journey’ (the process of achieving
sustainability) is of course vitally important, but only as a means of getting to the
destination (the desired future state). However,the ‘destination’ of sustainability is
not a fixed place in the normal sense that we understand destination. Instead, it is a
set of wishful characteristics of a future system.

Green development is generally differentiated from sustainable development in that


Green development prioritizes what its proponents consider to be environmental
sustainability over economic and cultural considerations. Proponents of Sustainable
Development argue that it provides a context in which to improve overall
sustainability where cutting edge Green development is unattainable. For example,
a cutting edge treatment plant with extremely high maintenance costs may not be
sustainable in regions of the world with fewer financial resources. An
environmentally ideal plant that is shut down due to bankruptcy is obviously less
sustainable than one that is maintainable by the community, even if it is somewhat
less effective from an environmental standpoint.

Some research activities start from this definition to argue that the environment is a
combination of nature and culture. The Network of Excellence "Sustainable
Development in a Diverse World",[8] sponsored by the European Union, integrates
multidisciplinary capacities and interprets cultural diversity as a key element of a
new strategy for sustainable development.

Still other researchers view environmental and social challenges as opportunities for
development action. This is particularly true in the concept of sustainable enterprise
that frames these global needs as opportunities for private enterprise to provide
innovative and entrepreneurial solutions. This view is now being taught at many
business schools including the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise at Cornell
University and the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of
Michigan.

The United Nations Division for Sustainable Development lists the following areas as
coming within the scope of sustainable development.

ESSAY SAMPLE ON "THE NEED FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT"


By the year 2200 there will be a lot more people living on this planet then there are
now. Estimates range anywhere from 15 to 36 billion people. Where will these
people live? How will they live? The answer is sustainable development. Sustainable
development, "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of
future generations to meet their own needs. " It also, "requires meeting the basic
needs of all peoples and extending to them the opportunity to fulfill their aspirations
for a better life. A world in which poverty is endemic will always be prone to
ecological and other catastrophes." Sustainable development is being ignored in
Chile, the Philippines, and Siberia, practiced in Madagascar and in Alaska, and
examined in the Lake Baikal region of Russia. These Countries must learn from each
other's failures and success to discover what sustainable development involves in
their own country.

Sustainable development has three divisions, economic, environmental, and social.


If sustainability is to occur it must, meet these three divisions. In Chile, none of
these divisions is being met. Economically speaking, almost 40% of the population
is poor and as a result many make a living directly from the land clearing forests. In
the IVth region of Chile, forest regions are being depleted at an amazing rate. This
depletion of the forest in this region results in two main things, one, people must
spend increasing amounts of energy traveling to the site of present cutting and two,
the removal of the trees over time has lead to soil erosion and rapid desertification
of the area. This soil erosion also removes many nutrients from the soil making the
land poor for agriculture. The third division, social, is not met here either. The lack of
organizations to relieve the negative effects of poverty on the environment have
only contributed to the problem.

In the Philippines the environmental degradation is similar in nature but more


catastrophic in result. There in the province of Leyte 6000 people were killed when
flash flood ripped through Ormoc City in 1991. The floods were a result of logging of
a forest in that region and conversion of that area into commercial farming practices
such as sugarcane. This in itself did not cause the floods, the conversion of the
forest into farming left the heavy rain from a typhoon with nowhere to go. Normally
the forest would have stopped any flash floods as it would have held the water let it
out slowly, but with the forests gone there was nothing to delay the water from
exiting the system. The economical effect of this that land and buildings were
destroyed causing millions of peso's worth of damage. The social impact is easy to
discern, those who lost loved ones, friends, and family can never get them back.

In Madagascar the same type of thing was happening. Locals were cutting down the
forest and planting rice and cassava. It was estimated that this process of
deforestation was costing the country between, "100 and 300 million a year in
decreased crop yields, the loss of productive forests and damage to infrastructure."
Something needed to be done, the government implemented a plan to, "protect and
improve the environment while working for sustainable development."

The approach integrates all aspects of sustainable development. Socially, a public


education programme explains why locals shouldn't cut down the tree's and why it
is economically more important that they don't. Environmentally, the forests will not
be lost now. And economically some cutting is still down however it is sustainable
cutting.

New jobs were also created in this program. In order to persuade villagers that this
was the best route to take, half of all fees paid by tourists to enter the parks within
which the forests are, go directly to development projects for the community. They
go to the community because of the "positive correlation between prosperity and
environmental quality. This means that the more prosperous you are the more you
can afford to clean up the environment. A poor country like Madagascar could not
possibly invest as much capital as Canada could into the reduction of Air pollution or
the clean up of contaminants in soil.

In the Russian north all aspects of sustainability were ignored. There in part of
Siberia that stretches from the Ural Mountains in the west to the Novosibirsk in the
south, [see appendix one, fig one] the environmental and social divisions of
sustainable development were ignored for the economical. This region produces
78% of Russia's oil and 84% of it's natural gas. It also happens to be rich in fish and
reindeer, the principle resources of the Yamal Nenets whom are the indigenous
peoples of the area.

Under Stalin socialist plan of the 1930's, the Nenet's were forced to change their
traditional way of life - one that was completely sustainable - to one based on
collective farms. The children were put in state schools and lost much of their
traditional knowledge. The creation of the massive oil fields and gas reservoirs were
started. The pollution that these industries created in air, land, and sea, destroyed
any hope of ever going back to anything like their traditional way of life. The
massive plants took up to as much as a third of the summer grazing grounds for the
reindeer, and the Ob river has been severely polluted from industrial centers in the
south. The social aspect, that of destroying way of life of the Nenet's, the pollution
caused by the plants is the disregard for the environmental aspect, and the
economical aspect's importance was, by far, outweighed in terms of the other two
aspects in terms of planning.

In contrast the U.S. has developed a different policy in it's North. Like Siberia, Alaska
has a lot of resources centered environmentally sensitive lands. Similarly, Alaska
also has it's own indigenous peoples, the I?upiat Eskimo, who have, like the Nenet's
traditionally had sustainable way of life. The ancestral calving grounds of Porcupine
Caribou Herd, one of the largest in the world at 160000 animals, is located on the
coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife reserve. The I?upiat herd these animals
and require this land to sustain their way of life. This also is the site for one of the
largest possible oil fields in North America and as such there is much debate on the
lands uses. The I?upiat want the money that the industry would bring in but fear the
environmental implications as well. In 1971, the U.S. Congress passed a native land
claims settlement act that meant that native groups had a much greater say in the
possible land uses. Following the passage of the act, the I?upiat formed the largest
City in North America (in terms of Geography, see Appendix One, fig. two), the
North Slope Borough, and began to tax any oil revenue made within the city. This
revenue - in the millions of dollars - let the I?upiat live a modern lifestyle and still
engage in their traditional subsistence practices. The I?upiat also retained a greater
control over environmental rules and regulations, which they used to make sure
little pollution occurred. In this example, all three aspects of sustainable
development were used. Economically, everyone made money, socially no group
was adversely effected, and environmentally there is little or no pollution, certainly
nothing like that in Siberia. Siberia may also be the place for trying a new method of
sustainable development. This new method created by George D. Davis hopes to be
a, "rational compromise between the economic needs of a people and the ecological
needs of their land." It employs a method of zoning an area or region as to it's
possible land use's. The area that this new method is being tested on is Lake Baikal,
the biggest, oldest, deepest repository of freshwater on the planet, one fifth of the
worlds total freshwater is found in Lake Baikal. This lake is also home to more than
1800 species found nowhere else on the planet. To save such an unique place on
earth it was necessary to account for all three area's of sustainability. This was
accomplished by zoning the entire Lake Baikal watershed into 25 different types of
zones ranging from farmland to industrial parks. A total of 52 million acres were set
aside as parks, reserves, greenbelts, and landscapes.

As well as zoning the entire basin, an agreement was struck to reduce and hopefully
end the pollution that enters Lake Baikal's watershed. In this way, not only was the
environment saved, but so were peoples jobs and thus the social and economic
well-being.

The Lake Baikal zoning method is an example of how new methods of sustainable
development are always being created. Countries like Chile, the Philippines, and
Zimbabwe all can learn a lot from examples such as Madagascar, the United States,
and the zoning method in Russia. In fact all countries can learn a lot from the
success and failures of each other. In every successful case of sustainable
development the three aspects were met, economical, environmental, and social. In
every failure at least one or more was missing. The lessons learned now can only
help us as we enter the next millennia, and over 15 billion people.

"Water is free and plentiful" is a myth. The reality is "Water is often the most critical
limiting factor to sustainable development'". Dwindling fresh watersupplies per
capita in the presence of rapid population growth arc threatening the health and
living standards of millions of people in a growing number of countries. It is
estimated that today at least 400 million people of me world live in region? with
severe water shortages. Over the next two decades, population
increase alone, not to mention growing demand per capita, is projected to push all
the humanity into water scarcity. We are trying to meet insatiable demands by
continuously expanding a supply that has limits both ecological and economic. We
have been quick to assume rights to use water, but slow to recognize obligations !o
preserve and protect it. As Thomas Fuller lamented: "we never
know die worth of water till the well is dry”. Hence we need a set of guidelines and
responsibilities that stop us from chipping away at natural systems until nothing is
left of their life - sustaining functions, which the market place fails to value
adequately. In short, we need a water ethic- a guide to right conduct in the face of
complex decision? about natural systems we do not and cannot fully understand.
The present paper is aimed at highlighting the significance of mid need for water
ethic
and it’s components as a part of sustainable development code that entails a wholly
new approach to economic progress, one that harmonizes economic and population
goals with ecological criteria The notion of sustainable development is quite
commonplace today in the parlance of discussion of developmental issues in die
areas of population, ecology and environment A host of nuts-and bolts measures-
from thrift irrigation techniques and rain water harvesting to water-saving-plumbing
fixtures and waste water recycling-can help us out of this predicament by reducing
the amount of water required to grow food, produce material goods and meet
household needs. But these measures will only spread rapidly if economic
incentives and regulations are adopted simultaneously along with population control
measures that promote conservation and efficiency instead of waste and profligacy.
Therefore crafting and implementing a national water strategy is essential to
sustainable development. The present paper highlights some possible and feasible
guidelines in this direction.