‘Create a Sustainable world’ has been a clarion call for many decades but the big question still remains – are we doing enough for the future generations?
In a 1987 report, Brundtland called out a sustainable development as the one that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs. We keep repeating this statement even after 35 years without doing much in this space that will hold the hope for the future.
The concepts of Sustainability and sustainable development are interlinked. UNESCO formulated a distinction between the two concepts as follows: “Sustainability is often thought of as a long-term goal (i.e. a more sustainable world), while sustainable development refers to the many processes and pathways to achieve it.
Today the sustainable development is focused on economic development, social development and environmental protection. All these three have inherently relied on technological development that has its own downside. We have seen how fossil fuels had helped the phenomenal growth of automobile industry to meet industrial, social and personal needs. But we are talking about how they gave rise to pollution and carbon emissions, a clear downside of a technological innovation. Hydrogen fuel and Electric Vehicles are ray of hope but disposing used batteries has not yet become a big worry. Paper was invented and manufactured in billions of tonnes every year only by destroying forests and eco-systems. Fortunately we see a hope of less paper being used these days as we have moved long ago into gadgets like hand phones and computers that helped to store what we see,write and read into virtual storage for us to retrieve later and enjoy. Similarly, energy from atoms was considered a huge technological break-thru until Chernobyl disaster happened. We have put that tragic incident behind to make the atomic plants more safer and also moved away towards producing energy from wind power and solar power in a big way that are not big worries for the environment. So, for every invention or innovation, the world came out with a balancing act that sustained the negative impact with a safe and improved product or method.
Sustainability and technological development are two sides of a coin and we need to keep flipping it as it is big challenge nay impossible to get both on the same side. It is a constant balancing act of innovations and sustainability that keeps environmental degradation in check. It is a huge responsibility for all of us that we make every effort to protect the human race and our environment from extinction. There needs to be more developed and developing countries in every continent and if we fulfill a part of the goals relating to poverty removal, hunger removal, clean water, better health, better education etc we have made a great start.
United Nations General Assembly has actioned on Sustainable Development Goals and has made a universal call to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere. There are 17 Goals ( 2015-2030) that are interconnected, apply to all countries, and need to be carried out by all stakeholders – governments, the private sector, civil society, the United Nations system and others – in a collaborative partnership.
Sustainable Development Goals: 17 Goals to Transform our World | United Nations