What is Sustainable development?
Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without affecting the future generations from sustaining their needs. Basically, sustainable development is about looking at the bigger picture and taking steps to evaluating how social, cultural, economic, political and environmental factors fit together, it’s also about improving the life of everyone regardless of where they reside. The point is to achieve this together by understanding the needs of both today and tomorrow’s world.
Dr. Klaus Topper stated that Sustainable Development is the peace policy of the future.
In order to shape the world in a sustainable manner we must first identify our sustainable development goals, by undertaking such an exercise we have a unique opportunity to come together and plan for our future. Seriously, considering our social, economic and environment matters and how they collective contribute to our life.
The world’s population is currently 7.6 billion (2018) and rapidly increasing since the industrial revolution. Let’s face it we are quickly (if not already) becoming a very complicated world. Worldwide there is a increasing gap between the world’s rich and poor further crippling our ability to protect and preserve the environment as we seek to satisfy our basic needs. Collectively, we have the power to bring about real changes, through our habits we determine which if any species become extinct in years to come, the type air we breathe, the quality of water we drink and the resources we have available in the future. We are now a part of an extremely connected world, we depend on each other’s manufacturing, financing, ideas, advertising and human resources.
The world is experiencing an unprecedented situation, as the world’s population grow its environmental conditions continue to change, a number of countries worldwide are stuck in the 1980’s and are only equipped to address the basic needs of only one third of their population alive, let’s look at Bangladesh as an example this country has a current population of 157 million people an increase of 90 million in 44 years, and with the number of births exceeding deaths you can just imagine the population growth in the next 10 years. The question is can Bangladesh withstand such an increase in a sustainable manner where the entire population can eventually get access to clean drinking water, clean air to breath, access to education, transport, jobs, health care, proper living condition and healthy food? The short answer is no.
Young boy walking in piles of garbage in Bangledesh
Source: http://www.old.endignorance.org/get-informed/spotlights/rural-and-urban-poverty- bangladesh
Many countries around the world like Bangledesh are crippled with poverty, poor infrastructure, solid waste woes, pollution, inadequate transport and job opportunities. The world cannot cope with the increased population growth and advancement, and how it is contributing to climate change and global warming. This new development has placed increasing importance on sustainable development, we can no longer ignore that the world’s population is growing, we must address the issues and decide collectively what we need do to ensure that we as humans survive 100 years from now.
At the United Nations Millennium Summit in New York world leaders came together to adopt a declaration by committing their country to a new global partnership where they would become accountable for their actions or lack thereof to reduce extreme poverty and setting a number of time bound targets, these goals are most commonly referred to as the “Millennium Development Goals”. The eight millennium Development Goals as outlined in the image below forms what you can refer to as the blueprint agreed to by all the countries in the world and prominent development institutions in an attempt to meet the needs of the world’s poorest.
As a result of this collective agreement in 2000 there are 700 million fewer people living in poverty, 90% of boys and girls worldwide are getting a primary school education, there is still a lot of work to be done, since 1.2 billion people still living in extreme poverty and as a result of the financial crisis millions of people are still unemployed worldwide. The more aware and active we get at achieving sustainable development goals the more we build momentum to seriously address this situation in an integrated and problem solving way.
Education and awareness remains the biggest problem, most of the world’s population have no idea about sustainable development and what it means, they are not concerned with the changes in the environment or how it would further affect their already poor living conditions. So what do we need to achieve sustainable development is to adopt a shared vision communicated to all so they can understand that their input matters. Separately, an all inclusive framework for action and clearly defined goals and targets, there must be a series of awareness campaigns lead my governments and NGO to get collective partnership by all of the world’s stakeholders.
Sustainable Development is the masterful balance of meeting our own needs without jeopardizing future generations’ ability to do the same.