Often we talk about climate change and, we write about sustainability. Easy ways to be sustainable living or saving the earth from climate change by opting for small changes like thrift or upcycle shopping, we've covered it all. However, it's possible that we don't all know the true meaning of sustainable development. Why this concept has come into existence and what would happen if we failed to live sustainably. And it's high time we understand this important topic. Thus, this is the perfect guide for you to get all your sustainability basics right!
The concept of sustainable development states that human civilizations must survive and fulfill their needs without jeopardizing future generations' ability to fulfill their own needs. The Brundtland Report, published in 1987, was the first to provide an "official" concept of sustainable development.
Sustainable development is organizing a society in a way that can continue to exist in the long run. This entails taking into account both current and future imperatives, such as environmental and natural resource protection, as well as social and economic equality.
Evolution of Sustainable Development
There has been agreement throughout the formation of the notion of "sustainable development" that it does not focus simply on environmental challenges. Economic development, social development, and environmental protection are the three interrelated and mutually reinforcing pillars. Cultural variety, according to indigenous peoples, is the fourth pillar of sustainable development.
The concept of sustainable development stems back to the early twentieth century. During the industrial revolution, when the environmental movement was split into two factions: conservationists and preservationists. Conservationists were concerned with how nature should be used, whilst preservationists were concerned with how nature should be protected from being utilized. To put it another way, conservation aimed to limit human impact whereas preservation aimed to eliminate it entirely.
The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972 focused on sustainable development as a major issue. The term was invented specifically to imply that economic growth and industrialization could be achieved without causing environmental harm.
Sustainability's Three Pillars
The World Summit on Social Development in 2005 recognized three key areas that contribute towards the global goal of sustainable development philosophy. In many national standards and certification schemes, these "pillars" serve as the backbone for addressing sustainable development goal of the world's most pressing issues from extreme poverty in developing countries to responsible use of natural resources in developed countries.
Growth of the Economy
This is the most difficult topic to resolve. Most people differ about what is and is not economically sound, and how it would influence businesses, and so jobs and employability. It's also about giving extra incentives for businesses and other organizations to follow sustainability criteria beyond what's required by law.
Also, to encourage and develop incentives for the average individual to contribute where and when they can; one person can rarely do much, but collectively, effects in some areas can be cumulative. The supply and demand market is consumerist by nature. Plus, modern life necessitates a significant amount of resources on a daily basis.
This pillar has a lot of different aspects to it. Most importantly, people's health is protected against pollution and other dangerous activities of businesses and other organizations through public awareness and laws.
Strong checks and programmes of laws are in place in North America, Europe, and the rest of the developed world to ensure that people's health and wellness are effectively protected. It's also about ensuring that essential supplies are available without jeopardising people's quality of life.
For many people, the most pressing concern right now is sustainable housing and how we might better construct our homes from sustainable materials. The fourth component is education, which involves encouraging people to participate in environmental sustainability and teaching them about the benefits of doing so, as well as alerting them about the hazards that may arise if we fail to meet our objectives.
Protection of the environment
We all know what we need to do to help the environment, whether it's recycling, conserving energy by turning off electronic devices rather than leaving them on standby, or walking short distances instead of using the bus. Businesses are governed in order to prevent pollution and reduce their own carbon emissions.
Renewable energy sources can be installed in our homes and businesses with financial incentives. Environmental protection is the third pillar and, for many, the most pressing problem for humanity's future. It outlines how we should study and maintain ecosystems, air quality, the integrity and long-term viability of our resources, as well as the aspects that put the environment under stress.
It also concerns how technology will drive a greener and sustainable future; the EPA acknowledged that developing technology and biotechnology is critical to this sustainability, as well as preserving future environments from possible harm caused by technological breakthroughs.
Goals of sustainable development
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which comprises 17 Sustainable Development Goals, was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015. (SDGs). The new Agenda emphasizes a holistic approach to attaining sustainable development for all, based on the principle of "leaving no one behind."
The 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) to transform our world:
- No Poverty
- Zero Hunger
- Good Health and Well-being
- Quality Education
- Gender Equality
- Clean Water and Sanitation
- Affordable and Clean Energy
- Decent Work and Economic Growth
- Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
- Reduced Inequality
- Sustainable Cities and Communities
- Responsible Consumption and Production
- Climate Action
- Life Below Water
- Life on Land
- Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
- Partnerships to Achieve the Goal
What happens if we don't follow sustainability?
Global warming is an illustration of what can occur if we do not develop in a sustainable manner. Ignoring challenges of sustainable development or sustainable development practices could result in increasing sea levels, extreme droughts, forest erosion, and loss rise in slum populations, species extinctions, and failing fisheries, among other things.
Climate instability, extreme weather events, and water shortage top the World Economic Forum's list of business risks, and as the world stands at a crossroads, governments and corporations must strike a balance between ecologically sustainable development and economic growth. On a deteriorated world, we will not be able to construct a stable, affluent, and equitable future for humankind. Especially when the world's population is predicted to exceed 10 billion people in the next three decades.
Sustainable Development in India
India, which is home to one-sixth of the world's population, is critical to the 2030 Agenda's success. India has adopted a “whole-of-society” approach, involving sub-national and local governments, civil society organizations, local communities, those in vulnerable situations, and the private sector. India's commitment to the SDGs is seen in its alignment with the national development strategy, as demonstrated by the Sabka Saath Sabka Vikaas philosophy (Collective Efforts for Inclusive Growth).
The India-UN Development Partnership Fund, worth USD 150 million, helps underdeveloped countries. India enters the Decade of Action in the spirit of regional and global alliances, as well as the country's pledge to "leave no one behind," gaining confidence from its expertise in dealing with issues.