Who Needs Such a Thing as Sustainable Development?

As we all know, sustainable development is one of trending urban development approaches nowadays. The word sustainable is something that we all familiar with, I guess. Should defining what sustainable development is, the simplest way to define it is the concept of development that not only considering about the present, but also the future. The term sustainable development rose to significance after it was used by the Brundtland Commission in its 1987 report Our Common Future. In the report, the commission coined what has become the most often-quoted definition of sustainable development: “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

credits: devdevelopmentexcellence.com

The United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) in its 1987 report Our Common Future defines sustainable development: “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Under the principles of the United Nations Charter the Millennium Declaration identified principles and treaties on sustainable development, including economic development, social development and environmental protection. Broadly defined, sustainable development is a systems approach to growth and development and to manage natural, produced, and social capital for the welfare of their own and future generations.

Within the concept, there are three pillars that most intellectuals wish to balance(?), which are ‘social-culture’, ‘economy’, and ‘environment’. In addition, some of theories put ‘Politic’ as another key sector to consider in sustainable development. I put the question mark after the word ‘balance’ because the concept of balancing those three sectors are quite unclear and greyish. Especially, economic development will always give trade-off to environment sector. How is it possible to do development without sacrificing resources (natural resources included, definitely) ? I don’t want to talk much about how to calculate or to define the balance term. In my own personal perspective, sustainable development is more like an urban approach where we should do the development by using available resources just as necessary and needed as possible.

credits: unesco

Somehow, sustainable development is mostly emphasized more to the environment sector. The term ‘GREEN’ is everywhere and stamped to many commodities to assure everyone that we are shifting to a more environmental friendly life. Really? I am not so sure about this. Despite of the effort of business and development sectors to sell the ‘GREEN’ term to public (which I hope they are really serious about the environmental friendly technology use), I prefer to create public awareness to environment more in the daily activities or we can say, the green lifestyle. And for me, that is the hard part in our society.

After all, everything is back to us, back to the society. Do we need to put this sustainable development concept to real life, for our own sake? Your call. I believe that ideally, sustainable development leads to achieving social ends, community well-being, quality of life, and a thriving social and civic life (referring to Ebenzer Howard who wrote Garden City). In the middle of this interrelated development sectors, we just have to remember that we live in this world and mother of nature feeds us. Give more consideration to nature in development won’t cause such a loss. I don’t think any suggestion in economy aspect will give much changes, since every individual will naturally put their effort to make a living. And it is important, to have considerable financial stability, moreover towards all of the uncertainties. The question is, will you do it wisely? One advice that I believe can sum the situation is, ‘Stop being greedy’.


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