Sustainable development is a way of life that we need to adopt to preserve resources for future generation’s use. By adopting this principle, we can maintain a balance in the ecosystem.
Sustainable development is very important. It helps businesses and economies grow for a long time. When businesses use sustainable methods, they work better, save money, and make customers happy. Also, sustainable growth in the economy can create new jobs and encourage new ideas. Let’s drill down further to explore the importance of sustainable development in today’s world.
Table of Contents
- What is Sustainable Development?
- Importance of Sustainable Development
- Objectives of Sustainable Development
- Goals of Sustainable Development
- Relationship between Sustainability and Sustainable Development
What is Sustainable Development?
Sustainable development is a way to meet people’s needs today without stopping future generations from meeting theirs. Since many of our natural resources can run out, it is our social responsibility to use them wisely. That’s why people are now using more sustainable products and technologies. The goal of sustainable development is to use resources in a way that doesn’t upset the balance of nature.
In simple terms, you can understand, Sustainable development like taking care of a big, shared garden. We all want to pick fruits and vegetables for our needs today, but we also want to make sure there’s enough left for people to enjoy tomorrow and the days after. So, we need to use the garden’s resources wisely and not damage it, ensuring it can continue to provide for everyone in the future.
As per the 1987 Brundtland report, sustainable development is defined as:
With more research, experts have concluded that economic, social, and environmental protection is crucial for sustainable development.
Why Sustainable Development is Important?
A big reason why sustainable development matters is because of how our population changes. A United Nations report says that these changes can greatly affect sustainable development. If we don’t think about these changes, our efforts to support sustainable development won’t work.
Following reasons suggests the reason why having a sustainable development is important:
- Resources won’t run out: Sustainable development ensures we use resources wisely, so they last for future generations.
- Nature stays healthy: It protects our air, water, and habitats, keeping them safe for all living things.
- People save money: By using less energy and creating less waste, sustainable development can help us cut costs.
- Everyone gets a fair share: It promotes fairness, making sure everyone has access to resources and opportunities.
- Climate change is tackled: By using cleaner energy and protecting our forests, sustainable development helps us fight the harmful effects of climate change.
- We live healthier lives: It reduces pollution, giving us clean air and water, good food, and green spaces to enjoy.
- We’re prepared for problems: Sustainable development helps us be ready for challenges like natural disasters, financial troubles, or health crises.
- Cooperation is encouraged: It promotes working together among countries and people to solve big problems.
- The future is considered: Sustainable development is about making sure our kids and grandkids can have a good life too.
- Life gets better for everyone: It aims to improve everyone’s life with a clean environment, good jobs, and a fair society.
These reasons highlight the importance of sustainable development in ensuring a balanced and respectful relationship with nature, promoting social and economic well-being, and building a better future for all.
Objectives of Sustainable Development
The most important objective of sustainable development is to balance our economic, environmental, and social needs, allowing prosperity for now and future generations. This concept is often defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.“
In simpler terms, it’s like a three-legged stool. One leg represents our economy, another represents the environment, and the third represents our society. If one leg is shorter or longer, the stool will tip over. So, we need to make sure all three legs are balanced, so our world can be stable and prosperous.
For example, when we use natural resources like oil and gas, we need to do it in a way that doesn’t harm our environment or our society. We need to make sure there’s enough left for future generations, and we need to make sure that everyone has fair access to these resources. This is the core objective of sustainable development.
Goals of Sustainable Development
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. These goals are interconnected and are designed to balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental.
Here are the most important goals of Sustainable Development:
- Eliminating Poverty: This goal aims at eradicating extreme poverty from across the world and reducing it by at least half the proportion of men, women, and children.
- Zero hunger: The aim is to create a world free of hunger and prevent diseases and deaths caused by malnutrition.
- Good health and well-being: This objective in sustainable living promotes efficient healthcare, a healthy lifestyle, and preventive measures for everyone.
- Quality education: To ensure that students have access to free primary and secondary education and affordable higher and technical education.
- Gender Equality: The aim is to give equal political, economic, and social equality for women thereby creating more opportunities.
- Clean water and sanitization: To provide clean water to populations across the globe so that they can have better sanitary conditions.
- Affordable and clean energy: It helps in energy efficiency and increases in the use of renewables for climate change mitigation and disaster risk reduction.
- Decent Work and Economic Growth: According to the national circumstances sustain per capita economic growth. Least Developed Countries should have at least 7% gross domestic product growth per annum.
- Industry, innovation and infrastructure: Developing reliable, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure to support economic development and social well-being.
- Reduce inequality: The aim is to reduce inequalities so that everyone gets an equal chance and collectively achieves sustainable development goals.
- Sustainable Cities and Communities: Ensuring everyone has access to affordable housing conditions and transportation. The aim is to allow sustainable human settlement planning across the world.
- Sustainable consumption and production: It involves decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation, promoting sustainable lifestyles, and increasing resource efficiency.
- Climate change: The aim is to combat climate change and its impacts on saving lives. The aim is to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 43% by 2030 and net zero by 2050.
- Life Below Water: The aim is to create an understanding of the oceans and the resources that it offers. It also focuses on learning methodologies to keep our seas clean.
- Life on land: The aim is to protect, restore and promote the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, combat desertification and reverse land degradation. It is important to take care of the ecosystem since these provide raw materials and ecosystem services.
- Peace, justice and strong institutions: Since conflict, weak institutions, and limited access pose a threat to sustainable development. It is, therefore, important to promote peace and facilitate inclusive societies.
- Partnerships for the goals: Government, society, private sectors, UN, and civil society must act as global partners to achieve each goal of sustainable development.
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Relation Between Sustainability and Sustainable Development
Sustainable development is interlinked with the normative concept of sustainability which is a long-term goal. The sustainable development refers to a way of life to achieve sustainability. Following are the different types of sustainability
- Environmental sustainability: It is responsible for conserving natural resources and protecting global ecosystems. The aim of this type of sustainability is to improve the quality of human life without harming ecosystems. This involves analyzing the energy and resource in our day-to-day lives. Experts also identify factors such as deforestation that are detrimental to the environment. The aim is to adopt environmental practices that improve and cleanse our ecosystem.
- Social sustainability: This is another pillar of sustainability that identifies the negative and positive impact of business processes on people. Businesses need to take initiatives for social sustainability since they, directly and indirectly, impact the community. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is one of the crucial aspects of business operation so that organizations can contribute to our community and environmental well-being. While businesses leave a positive impact on society, they also bring innovations with their initiatives. This allows them the opportunity to explore new market niches.
- Economic sustainability: This is another crucial aspect of sustainability that supports long-term economic growth. The aim is to do so without leaving any negative impact on the environmental and social aspects of the community. Economic sustainability creates the long-term sustainable present and future value of natural resources through their optimal use, recycling and recovery.
What are the advantages of going sustainable?
Sustainable living helps in reducing energy usage which helps in bringing down the energy demand. With lesser demand, there is an overall reduction in the operational cost as well.
Which are the three pillars of sustainable development?
Environmental protection, social equity and economic viability are the three pillars of sustainable development.
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