Can sustainable development work? What then will be the impact on business and what will be the impact on the environment?
First we must define sustainable development. Sustainable is to say that something such as resources or an environmental system can be continued indefinitely without depleting any of the material or energy resources required to keep it running.
Development is the act, process, or result of developing. Combined together it is an idea brought forward by the World Commission on Environment and Development defined by them as a form of development or progress that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. We must also understand that we are the stewards of the natural environment and the entire planet, and as such we are responsible for what ever happens to any of the ecological systems.
Can sustainable development work? This question is more complex than it seems. A simple yes or no answer does not apply to this question due to all of the factors involved, which must be considered and evaluated. On the one hand you would have to say no. The reasons you would have to say no are, because of the opposition you would receive from changing human habits, which have been set for thousands of years. Structure and cost to big businesses and trying to control other countries and governments and the economical impacts such major changes could have on any societies economy. It would be impossible for the United States to order or police all of the other nations and possibly unethical to force them into our ideas and ways of life. This approach has brought the United States into many wars. Wars negatively impact many ecological systems by either invading them or totally destroying them. War also destroys and uses vast amounts of natural resources. Yet the United Nations, if given more power could possibly perform this task of policing and regulating without resulting in war if all of the nations of the world joined the United Nations, but at what cost. In the United States big business is able to influence our politicians. If big business felt this was economically unsound they could afford to spend billions of dollars to fight any legislation that would help this cause or tie up legislation, regulations or mandates in our court systems for years.
Then you have human nature, which resist change especially when it comes to giving up something that makes life easier or that is the economical source of their survival. If people survive or derive their income or livelihoods from these natural sources it will be almost impossible to get them to change their habits of destruction to the natural environment.
Then you have the anti-environmental groups, which work hard to confuse the issues or hide the facts with extra facts or manipulate the data with the help of big business and skeptical scientist they hire. All of these factors and more would be reason to say that sustainable development would not work.
The impact on the environment would be devastating and our world would eventually be unable to sustain any life and we would have to move or perish with it. When all the resource started disappearing businesses would run out of materials and be forced to eventually close forever.
Now, onto the idea that sustainable development can work for this environment and the entire planet. You have many people all ready starting to see the impacts we have on the environment. There are many groups and businesses and governments, which are working towards this goal. The groups are working to get the politicians to bring about more regulations and laws to help protect the natural environment and the entire planet.
By starting with smaller portions of the human population such as communities and cities, we can slowly work towards sustainable states and countries and eventually the entire planet. Some businesses are helping by means of recycling, using less resources, cutting pollution and a host of other environmentally sound practices.
The United States is one of the fore runners in this struggle, to change the way humans interact with the natural environment. More and more political leaders are stepping up to the plate and doing their part to bring about positive change. Recently President Bush unveiled plans on reducing global warming and pollution, which is first meant to stop these effects and then reverse them.
Sound scientist are stepping up and reporting on sound scientific facts about environmental issues such as greenhouse gases, pollution, El Nino and any other environmental conditions, that are destroying our natural environment, which in turn will lead to the destruction of our entire planet.
As more people are educated to what is happening to the natural environment and learn that we the humans of this planet are the ones responsible for the depletion and destruction of the natural environment, then that is the more people who will help in the struggle to maintain and fix what has happened and sustainable development will become a complete reality.
One of the main concepts of sustainable development that must be understood and practiced by every human is stewardship, because like it or not we are the stewards of the entire planets environment.
The impact of sustainable development working is that the businesses will continue to function and grow and they will have customers to buy their products and the resources to produce them. The impact of sustainable development working for the environment is obvious. If we the inhabitants of this natural environment take care of it, the natural environment will continue to take care of us and we will not perish or have to move to another planet.
Instead of asking if sustainable development will work or not we need to look at the facts of do we need it to work or not. I believe that it has been shown that we have no choice in this matter we either make sustainable development work or we will perish from our own lack of effort and humanity will be no more.
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BBA student @ Northwood University
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