Edited by Foxit Reader Copyright(C) by Foxit Corporation,2005-2009 For Evaluation Only. ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT benjamin l saitluanga Development is a term which refers to a change in structural transformation ofsocio-political economy in a positive and valued manner. Sustainable developmentencompasses concerns for the society, economy and the environment. Before the World War II, Development was used in synonymous with economicgrowth. In fact, the term implied rise in production of economic activities. Rise inproduction was needed due to- 1. for feeding increasing numbers of population 2. for raising standard of living However, rise in economic production, increasing population, and higher standardof living in the developed countries led to environmental deterioration while povertyrelated problems also led to environmental problems in the third world. Therefore, during the 1960s, there was a growing concern on interrelated issueslike- 1. Increasing population 2. Environmental deterioration 3. Rise in production or economic growth 4. Poverty As a result, a number of books relating to effect of development on environmenthave been published. In 1962, Rachel Carson published ‘The Silent Spring’. Theoutcome of this book was the banned of usage of DDT in western countries. Before
this, J. Osbourne (1948) has published a highly influential book titled ‘Our PlunderedPlanet’. In 1972, a research team called the ‘Club of Rome’ under Prof. Dennis Meadowspublished a widely circulated book titled ‘Limits to Growth’ in which the world ismodelled as a spaceship where there is a limit of everything on its content. This bookrevealed the projected effects of increasing population and economic growth onenvironment and human well-being. Meanwhile, the United Nation was also taking efforts to protect the environmentwhile sustaining growth. In 1972, the United Nation’s Conference on HumanSettlement was held in Stockholm. This Stockholm Conference is usually identifies asa watershed in the emergence is sustainable development. It gave rise to the formationof United Nation’s Environment Programme (UNEP). By 1987, the WorldCommision on Environment and Development prepared a report u nder thechairmanship of Swedish P.M. Brundtland. The name of the report was titled OurCommon Future. In this book, sustainable development was defined as – Development which meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs. Although the concept of sustainability is problematic both analytically andpractically, it mainly relates to give opportunities for future generations by includingeconomic, social and ecological objectives. The concept of sustainable development isclosely like with issues of environment, development, equity, and futurity. Sustainabledevelopment calls that environment sets limits to economic growth. Rapid anduncontrolled economic growth leads to environmental degradation. It is therefore,
essential to include environment in economic policies and not treated as free or tradedgoods. Sustainable Development Society Economy Environment The concept of Sustainable development is based on the following threeprinciples: 1. Inter-generational equity- this means that natural resources should not be indiscriminately used but also should be passed on to future generations. 2. Social Justice- this means that present resources should be fairly and equitable used by all sections of population in both poor and rich countries to satisfy their aspirations for a better life. The Brundtland Report also states that ‘poor and powerless will get fair share of the resources required to sustain growth’ 3. Trans-Frontier Responsibility- sustainable development recognized the trans-border nature of pollution. Environmental protection should legitimise in all countries while more developed countries should try to reduce their carbon emission. Objectives of Sustainable Development: According to the World Commission on Environment and Development(WCED), the main objectives of Sustainable Development are- 1. reviving growth 2. changing the quality of growth
3. meeting essential needs for jobs, energy and water 4. conserving and enhancing resources 5. reorienting technology and managing risks 6. merging environment and economics in decision-making Strategies to achieve Sustainable Development: 1. restraining population growth mainly in areas of higher growth 2. reducing poverty and inequality 3. sustainable agriculture 4. protection of environment and biodiversity 5. sustainable resource use 6. reduce consumerism 7. creating technologies which are minimal or non-pollutants To conclude, sustainable development emphasizes environmentally benigndevelopment and sees rapid economic growth as the only way to tackle poverty in theThird world countries. Sustainable development is people-centred, concentrate onimproving human conditions and conservation based, maintaining the variety andproductivity of nature. This is clearly reflected in the Rio Conference’s Declaration(1992) which opens with the statement that ‘Human beings are at the centre ofconcerns for sustainable development’.