Sustainable Development, Strategies to be adopted for Sustainable Development

Doorsteptutor material for IAS is prepared by world's top subject experts: Get detailed illustrated notes covering entire syllabus: point-by-point for high retention.

Download PDF of This Page (Size: 170K)

Sustainable Development

  • Human being with the help of technological advancement and consumption of energy resources have made many inventions and discoveries to make their life more and more comfortable. At present, without technology and mineral and power resources we cannot think about the life. It has entered in a large scale in almost every sector, be it agriculture, industry, transport, communication and domestic. Simultaneously, it has affected and endangered the components of ecosphere. These are the climatic system, the hydrological cycle, nutrient cycle and the biodiversity. Due to careless and selfish action of the human beings, the natural resources are degraded to such an extent that it becomes non-renewable.

  • This dilemma bothered entire mankind. A conscious effort was made to address this particular problem. A committee was formed by United Nations under the chairmanship of the then Prime Minister of Norway, Gro Harlem Brundtland. This Commission was known as United Nations Commission on Environment and Development (UNCED) or popularly the Brundtland Commission. The title of the report prepared by the Commission is “Our Common Future.”

  • Developed countries blamed developing countries for the rapid population growth, poverty and primitive technology which leads to pollution. The argument of developing countries was that extravagant lifestyles of developed countries puts a lot of pressure on existing resources. But after a lot of heated discussions and arguments, it was felt that there should be some common grounds in which all the world should agree to protect it for future. It was felt that there should be balance between ecology, economics and technology. Therefore, Brundtland Commission defined sustainable development as “meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs.”

Strategies to be Adopted for Sustainable Development

Some strategies are given below for achieving sustainable development.

Reviving Growth: Poverty increases pressure on the environment by following lifestyles that degrade environment. For example, forest cutting for fuel use or expanding deserts by overgrazing activities. Majority of people living below poverty line are found in Africa and Asia. Efforts should be made to provide them certain alternatives like skills, training, education, etc. so that they can earn livelihood and come out of poverty. Because, as long as poverty will be there, poor people will depend upon nature for their survival.

Ensuring A Sustainable Level of Population: Explosion of population has a direct link with quality of life, parameters like access to education, health, housing, safe drinking water, sanitation and means of livelihood. It puts a lot of stress on government especially in Africa, South Asia and Middle East countries to provide additional facilities when population is increasing rapidly.

Meeting Essential Human Needs: This is a pre-requisite for reviving growth. It is evident that unless the basic needs are satisfied, the individual cannot participate in the growth process. Essential human needs include enough food, adequate housing, fresh water supply, and health Facilities.

Changing the Quality of Growth: There is a need for making growth less materialistic, less energy intensive and more equitable. Economic and social development have to be mutually reinforcing. Economic development should pay attention towards better social development like education, health, sanitation, etc. Simultaneously social development can boost the economy of the areas, region and country.

Conserving and Enhancing the Resources Base: The moral argument is that we have to preserve resources for the sustenance of next generation. The economic argument is that we cannot say to the poor people that they must remain in poverty to protect environment. There is a need to challenge the consumerism of the developed countries and through following pro-capitalist economic systems. The challenge in sustainability is that how we conserve resources without jeopardising the growth and equal access to resources for livelihood. There is a need to find out alternatives to non-renewable resources, more efficient use of resources, discovery of new resources and discovery of low waste technologies.

Reorienting Technology and Managing Risk: The capacity for innovation needs to be greatly enhanced in developing countries. The effort by developed countries must play a vital role as far as the transfer of technology is concerned. Therefore, all the technological development must pay greater attention to environmental factors. This is closely linked to the issue of risk management wherein environmental impact has to be effectively minimized.

Merging Environment and Economics in Decision Making: Sustainable development requires the unification of economics and ecology in international relations.

image of Strategies to be adopted for Sustainable Developmen …

Image of Strategies to be Adopted for Sustainable Developmen …

In brief, it can be said that

  • Biosphere refers to the narrow part of the earth in which all life form exists. Life is found in this region due to availability of correct combination of land, air and water. There are three major components of biosphere. These are abiotic, biotic and energy component.

  • Ecology is the study of interactions between the organisms and their physical environments on the one hand and among the organisms on the other hand. An ecosystem can be defined as a system of regularly interacting and interdependent components forming a unified hole. It we study functional aspects of ecosystem then an ecosystem can be studied in terms of energy flow, food chain, diversity pattern in terms of time and space, bio-geo-chemical cycle, development and evolution and control mechanisms or cybernetics. In an ecosystem, continuous interaction goes on between components and sub-components which involves the flow of energy. Food chain is one such example in which transfer of energy takes place in a sequential manner in one trophic level to those in another trophic level. In a food chain the members at the successive higher levels become smaller in number. When the numbers at successive levels are plotted, they assume the shape of a pyramid, hence it is called food pyramid. Each ecosystem has certain inbuilt mechanism to maintain balance. Biogeochemical cycles are the movement and circulation of soluble substances derived from sedimentary and atmospheric phases of inorganic substances through organic phase of various biotic components and finally their return to inorganic state.

  • Ecosystem can be classified into various types. On the basis of habitats, ecosystem can be divided as terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem. These ecosystems are further subdivided into various subtypes. Biosphere as the largest ecosystem remained undisturbed for billion years. But in recent years, due to adverse human actions, lot of damage has been made and some of these are irreversible. Some of these phenomena are global warming, ozone layer depletion, acid rain, sea level changes etc. Today, at the global level, initiatives have been taken to address these problems. One of the significant developments was United Nation Commission on Environment and Development. The Commission submitted its report whose title was “Our Common Future”. In this report the concept of sustainable development was brought forward. Sustainable development was defined as “meeting the needs of present generation without compromising the ability for future generation to meet their own needs”.

Developed by: