Sunday, April 8, 2012

SUSTAINABILITY: Oh. Environment !! Who cares ?



The concept of sustainability was adopted in 1969   by IUCN but a formal approval to this term was given  in 1972 during the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm when the conflicts between environment and development were first acknowledged. A standard definition of Sustainability was adopted  during World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 where  economic development, social development and environmental protection were recognized  as three pillars  and collective responsibility  and mutually interdependent actions at local, national, regional and global levels to advance and strengthen these three reinforcing pillars of sustainable development  were  identified as core area of action.
Development of technology has also facilitated the economic growth . Apart from meeting the genuine demands of population growing at exponential rate , the increased trends of consumerism and materialism have affected the demand regime fuelling for further development of market. This process of development, which started germinating its seeds into the mind of Homo sapiens about 2 lakhs years ago, accelerated all processes leading into change of all ecosystems of the world in a gradual but sure manner. Technological advancements leading to economic changes , socio- ecological combinations and complexities  leading to organizational transformation of  communities and communication processes have helped man to reach the present stage .However the process has severely influenced the resource base and also resulted into unprecedented environmental damage in the form of pollution of various kinds, degradation of precious lands resources and depletion of valuable plants and animals.
The other important concept of sustainable development is social sector where the concept of equity is envisaged to deal all the challenges arising out of increased economic growth  which is not equal in all parts of the Globe. Whether it is health, education, food security or any other sector related to social well being of  the community , the Govt/States are playing crucial role  to provide necessary inputs, though the other reason behind this is to sustain the political interests which is very common in a democratic system like ours and where the people as an electorate play crucial role at frequent intervals. It is also  true that in spite of continued efforts towards improvement of  social sectors for the last 50 years, the results of these interventions have not been very encouraging mainly due to poor delivery mechanism , lack of interest and commitment leading into administrative incapacities apart from  faulty implementation of the programmes.
Environmental  conservation is  being considered  very crucial not only for the overall survival of the man kind but also for the intergenerational needs. Recent phenomenon of climate change and related problems  including global warming has made the amelioration and conservation of environment arduous and challenging. To counter this  additional problem, there is need to have  much emphasis  towards  technological innovations and  financial support which is somehow missing in  the present system of governance .
One  the major factors which is not making the environment sector eligible for the required patronage and subject of priority at various levels including political parlance is the intangible benefits arising out of it. Be it  a quality water to drink  or fresh air to breathe  or  non-degraded land to support agriculture or allied activities  or  precious forests for multifarious benefits , these issues have no potential for registering their importance in the minds of political bosses and there is bleak future of improvement of this sector unless concentrated efforts , political will translating into improved budgetary allocations and suitable technologies are infused into present environment sector which is badly  crippled and  ailing. Till the present trend of neglect, less priority and implementation bottlenecks coupled with institutional deformities like corruption and accountabilities  related to Environment  continue, it may not wise to expect any desirable outcome as envisaged for a true sustainable model of development .
There is need to  bring a change in the attitude of all the concerned including those  who play a crucial role in the conservation of environment  by putting extra efforts  and changing the present attitude  of shrugging off responsibilities and  according  least priority to this sector. The “who cares” attitude  needs to be replaced  with the  “We all care” only then we may able to expect a visible and required impact in this directions which is  very much required not only for present generations but  for the generations to come.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are exclusively mine and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency/government.)

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