With Climate Change taking centre stage, a lot is being talked about ‘Sustainability’ and ‘Sustainable Development’. The chopping of trees in the Aarey Forests in Mumbai upset a lot of citizens even while the government tried to say things in its defence. Sustainable fashion has put many ‘fast fashion’ companies in centre stage for making use of resources far beyond its requirement. So, what exactly is Sustainable Development?
Sustainable Development as a term that was first brought into common use in their report ‘Our Common Future’ published in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development, a group appointed by the United Nations. The report defined the term as a form of development or progress that ‘meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Sustainable development is just not about carbon emissions. It means different things to different people.
- Economists are concerned with growth, efficiency and maximum use of resources.
- Sociologists focus on human needs on concepts of equity, empowerment, social cohesion and cultural identity.
- Ecologists show their concern towards preserving their natural habitat and for dealing with pollution.
Which category do you belong to?
According to the report mentioned earlier, anything can only be sustainable if the concerns of sociologists, economists and ecologists can intersect as shown in the Venn Diagram in the picture. However, we must not miss out the ‘politics of sustainability’. The political evolution cannot be ignored and only a strong democracy where citizens are informed and involved in decision making will result in sustainable development.
The writing on the wall is clear though - if we fail to achieve sustainability, the natural world will impose it on us in the most undesirable ways. The future is for green companies, jobs and policies.