Sustainable Development is a Goal toward which all Human Societies need to be Moving

Sustainable development is the practice of using guidelines for environmentally responsible and energy savings to create new development projects and to maintain and retrofit older projects. It can include using green materials in new construction, designing projects that can harvest their own energy to reduce the load on a power grid, or that incorporate green space in order to counterbalance the green space removed to build the onsite facilities. There is a heavy emphasis on making sure that what is built can be maintained and repaired in a way that minimizes the degradation of the original development so that the lifespan of a facility is longer than normal.

Sustainable development involves satisfying the needs of the present population without endangering the capability of future populations to satisfy its own needs. It’s about improving the well being of everyone wherever they are and achieving this milestone collectively. Sustainable development also digs deeper. This means we want companies to expand, people to have the best jobs, everyone to afford nutritious foods wherever they live, quality and affordable education for everyone, freedom of speech without violence, and our economies to grow exponentially. We want to develop innovative technologies while keeping the environment safe.

“Sustainable development is a development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Sustainable development is not just about the environment. Its focus is much broader than that. It's all about meeting the diverse needs of people in different communities, social cohesion, creating equal opportunity to ensure a strong and healthy society. Sustainable development also focuses on finding better ways of doing things without affecting the quality of our life.

There are 3 components of sustainable development – economic growth, environmental stewardship, and social inclusion. Countries are recognizing the importance of conserving natural resources, people are switching to cycling instead of driving that will improve their health, farmers are practicing climate-smart agriculture and industries are realizing as to how much they can save through energy efficiency.

Understanding sustainable development and its goals is the first step to learning what we can do to make it happen. There are many initiatives already in place, but still many roadblocks to sustainable development that have to be overcome.

Goals of Sustainable Development
There are three primary goals of sustainable development:

  • To minimize the depletion of natural resources when creating new developments.

  • To create a development that can be maintained and sustained without causing further harm to the environment.

  • To provide methods for retrofitting existing developments to make them into environmentally friendly facilities and projects.

Sustainable development is a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts: The concept of 'needs,' in particular the essential needs of the world's poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and The idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment's ability to meet present and future needs. The satisfaction of human needs and aspirations is the major objective of development. The essential needs of vast numbers of people in developing countries for food, clothing, shelter, jobs – are not being met, and beyond their basic needs, these people have legitimate aspirations for an improved quality of life.  A world in which poverty and inequity are endemic will always be prone to ecological and other crises. 

Sustainable development requires meeting the basic needs of all and extending to all the opportunity to satisfy their aspirations for a better life. A society may in many ways compromise its ability to meet the essential needs of its people in the future – by overexploiting resources, for example. The direction of technological developments may solve some immediate problems but lead to even greater ones. Large sections of the population may be marginalized by ill-considered development. Sustainable development involves more than growth, it requires a change in the content of growth, to make it less material- and energy-intensive and more equitable in its impact. These changes are required in all countries as part at a package of measures to maintain the stock or ecological capital, to improve the distribution of income, and to reduce the degree of vulnerability to economic crises. 

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