Meaning of Sustainable Development

What is Sustainable Development:

Sustainable development (or sustainable development) consists of the efficient and responsible administration of natural resources to preserve the ecological balance, in order to guarantee the equitable distribution of such resources in the present and their availability for future generations.

The notion of sustainable development is an evolution of the old concept of development, since it contemplates economic and material progress, but in balance with social well-being through the responsible use of natural resources. In this way, it reconciles the three fundamental axes of sustainability: the economic, the ecological and the social.

The traditional concept of economic development refers only to the production and distribution of goods and wealth, without considering environmental balance as a source of quality of life. The concept of sustainable development is based on the fact that this developmental model has put the ecosystem at risk and, with it, the quality of life and human survival.

The objective of sustainable development is to achieve a certain level of material progress without compromising the environment, natural resources and the quality of life of human beings. In this way, it is proposed to address the social, economic and environmental spheres based on viability, sustainability and equity.

The implementation of a sustainable development program depends to a great extent on the will of governments to formulate public policies that favor the awareness and participation of citizens and companies on issues such as reducing pollution, saving energy resources, using renewable energy, etc. .

Principles of sustainable development

Wind power plant in coexistence with areas of agricultural exploitation

Depending on the approaches, the principles of sustainable development can be based on different theories and manifestos. Based on the 1992 Rio de Janeiro Declaration, they can be summarized as follows:

  • The human being as the center: the survival and quality of life of human beings is the center of interest of sustainable development.
  • Principle of equity for the eradication of poverty: implies equitable distribution of resources to satisfy basic needs (food, clothing and housing) and provide equal opportunities.
  • Principle of solidarity with future generations: sustainable development takes into account the commitment to the well-being of future generations.
  • Preservation of natural resources and the environment: the preservation of the environment and the resources they provide are a fundamental condition for quality of life and survival.
  • Common but differentiated responsibility: we are all co-responsible for caring for the environment according to the degree to which we affect it.
  • Responsibility of the State: States must put limits on environmental overexploitation and discourage indiscriminate consumption.
  • International cooperation: States must cooperate with each other by sharing knowledge for the protection of the environment and the scope of sustainable development. Likewise, the international community should help guarantee the sustainable development of peripheral countries.

Types of sustainability

Sustainable development reconciles three fundamental axes or types of sustainability: economic, ecological and social, which are interconnected with the criteria viable, sustainable Y equitable. These are areas of sustainability inherent to the concept of sustainable development, strongly related to each other.

Social sustainability: social growth must correspond to bearable rates for the environment and must be based on co-responsibility in the distribution of wealth. This implies seeking proportional population growth and eradicating poverty.

Economic sustainability: economic growth must be viable in relation to the environment, that is, it must not exceed the regeneration capacity of natural resources. Likewise, it must be committed to social equity in the distribution of resources.

Environmental sustainability: refers to guaranteeing the existence of natural resources over time. Environmental sustainability seeks to guarantee conditions for society to support itself and, therefore, seeks to guarantee the viability of economic growth.

See also:

  • Sustainability
  • Development

Examples of sustainable development

Solar panels for obtaining electrical energy.

Use of clean or alternative energies. Wind, solar, geothermal energy, among others, constitute energy sources that generate less impact on the environment than hydroelectric plants.

Substitution of fossil fuels for biofuels. Fossil fuels generate large CO2 emissions, which has an impact on global warming. In addition, its way of obtaining it is very invasive and the recovery time of fossil fuels is so high that it is considered a non-renewable resource and, therefore, it could be depleted.

Recycling. Recycling involves the use of materials that have already been manufactured. It is a way to contain and reduce pollution from garbage production.

Reduction of intensive agriculture. It involves making proper use of agriculture that does not deplete the soil's ability to provide nutrients.

Reforestation It is to repopulate a land with plants and trees when they have been intervened to obtain resources.

Reduction of energy consumption. The less energy we consume, the levels of energy production are reduced, which means less environmental impact and more economic savings.

Development of sustainable cities and sustainable buildings, such as The Edge building, Amsterdam and the BBVA Bancomer Tower, in Mexico City.

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