We often intertwine the word development with progress but the question is, is it sustainable? We now begin to understand that not all development is progress. Some of them are a step backward when you consider the long term perspective of development.
Overtime, we’ve converted agricultural lands to the industrial and commercial establishment because we think it is what will give us progress. However, these conversions have disrupted the ecosystem in the area and have more devastating effects rather than development.
For development to be sustainable, we need to have some guiding principles to keep us rooted in the right concept of development and progress. Let us discuss the six principles of sustainability.
Enhance People’s Quality of Life
Quality of life can differ from one place to another. We have to consider two sides of the spectrum. On the one hand, we have to find income, education, medical care, housing employment, and legal right of the people. These are essentials that a community must have to consider itself sustainable.
On the other hand, we must also consider the community’s readiness to face risks like crime, pollution, disease, and disaster. The community must strike a balance between these elements – the presence of the other and the absence of the other – to ensure that they will be living a quality of life.
Enhance Local Economic Vitality
A healthy economy is essential for sustainability because it is what keeps the community going. There must be enough job opportunities for everyone, efficient tax collection, and enough funds for the government for social services.
There must also be diversity in the economy, so it will not be easily disrupted.
Availability for Everyone
The resources of the community must be available to everyone, no matter your ethnicity, age, gender, culture, religion, etc.
We define future generations as part of EVERYONE in this principle. We must let our great-great-grandchildren inherit an environment that has enough resources, a healthy natural system, and an environment that is free of hazards.
Protection of Environment
Genuine sustainability means not destroying the environment and ecosystems for the resources it provides. The development must not lead to the destruction of the environment. Activities of both humans and corporations must not result in the degradation of land, air, and waters.
If we do not protect the environment and the resources will be depleted, there will no longer be an environment for our future generations to inherit.
Improve Disaster Resilience
The degradation of natural ecosystems makes it easier for disasters to cause destruction and damage to the community. When a disaster strikes an area, it can result in an outbalance of elements that make a community sustainable.
Nonetheless, disasters like typhoons, earthquakes, floods, and drought are inevitable. We must be a disaster-resilient community that’s ready to face changes and challenges brought by nature.
Moreover, we must do our best as a collective to ensure that we do not carry out activities that cause disasters.
Promote Participatory Governance
No group of people should decide for everyone. For matters that will affect everyone in the community, proper consultation and consensus decision making must be practiced.
Decisions, especially ones that will have a significant effect, must be contemplated well by the members of the community. If there will be some issues or concerns, the members must work their way to resolve them. What is essential is that every voice will be heard and the final decision must be participatory and inclusive.
We must also keep in mind that the practice of sustainable development is not just the work of one sector or group. This is a collective effort brought by different entities working hand in hand to achieve growth.
If development cannot strike a balance between the community and the environment, then it cannot be considered as progress. A development that only caters to one end of the spectrum will never be regarded as sustainable. As a community safeguarding nature, we must scrutinize thoroughly any promise of development because a wrong decision today might be the end of someone else’s tomorrow.