Sustainable Development is the ability of meeting human development needs while also sustaining the natural resources so as to provide the resources and also secure a balanced ecosystem. If realized, sustainable development leads to a situation where the economic status of individuals improves without the quality of the natural resources dwindling. This therefore means that the economic needs of the present generation are met without putting in danger the ability of future generations to meet their own economic needs through natural resources. The idea of sustainable development can be looked at in a variety of ways, but they all boil down to one concept, balance. Balance in economic development,. social development, and environmental conservation.
When Sustainable development was first institutionalized in the 1992 Earth Day in Rio de Janeiro, in what has come to be widely known as the Rio Process, the desire, or at least the hope at that time was that the world was going to realize its share in its own destruction, and save itself before a mess, but seemingly, it is such hope that kills. As time went by, little was done to ensure sustainable development. Many governments did not care even a little, as they saw forest land being cleared, the emission of carbon gases increasing faster than Concorde jets, and the use of fossil fuel skyrocketing in all industries and mechanizations. It has always been profits over sustainability.
As time went by, the ravaging effects of neglecting sustainable development started kicking in. Green house gas concentration started rising, and boom, each decade started being warmer than the previous decades, wildfires throughout the world, and very warm temperatures became the norm. Rising sea levels causing massive inundation in low lying areas leading to loss of lives. Homes and properties stood destroyed from massive cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons and other severe storms. Desertification of fertile land, leading to drought and famine in several communities. Species of animals started getting lost, both on land and in the sea, one after another, and several others put in danger of getting lost.
These massive results of unsustainable development led to what is called climate change, and efforts to achieve sustainable development began in earnest, lading to the establishment of the Sustainable Development Goals. In 2015, the UN, through its member states voted on 17 objectives that are applicable universally. These objectives were then given a fifteen year implementation phase, replacing the Millennium Development Goals.
So then, what is the importance of sustainable development?
Economic growth-In a society with sustainable development, economic growth becomes easy, and that is why it is important to achieve sustainability. This is so because sustainable development offers a wide range of natural resources to spur this economic growth. Furthermore, a sustainable environment leads to creation of more renewable resources such as energy which can always be replenished. Renewable energy has proven to be efficient and cheap, hence ability to spur more economic growth than the the unsustainable sources.
Social growth and inclusion– With sustainable development, the levels of social inclusion rises. The people are more included in the distribution of resources, and that with this distribution, the quality of life becomes better and more people are alleviated out of poverty. This leads to human dignity, equality, and social justice, contributing social growth and inclusion.
Environmental Conservation– After many decades of environmental degradation, it is only a sustainable development that can restore and conserve it. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, is one of the products of sustainable development that has proven to be important in reducing carbon. Environmental conservation will save millions of endangered species of flora and fauna, provide food to million of households, increase income to several communities and reduce the fiery effects of climate change.
It is therefore important that all communities and populations in the world should implement sustainable development, which has been easier by the guidelines of provided by the UN SDGs.