Ensure Environmental Sustainability Essay
It is critical that the natural resources base and ecosystems are managed sustainably to ensure that people’s food requirements and other social, economic, and environmental needs are sufficiently met. Climate change, conflicts over access to resources, and increased water scarcity all pose a threat to not only environmental sustainability but also food security.
As such, millennium development goal 7 has 4 targets:
- To integrate the principles of sustainable development into every nation’s policies and programmes, and also reverse the depletion of environmental resources
- To reduce biodiversity loss and achieve a substantial reduction in the rate of loss by 2010
- To halve the proportion of the universal population without sustainable access to clean and safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015.
- To achieve substantial improvement in the lives of a minimum of 100 million slum dwellers by 2020.
An estimated 30 percent of total land area on the planet is forested. An estimated 1.6 billion people depend on forests directly for their livelihoods, plus they provide other benefits enjoyed by all, including clean air and water. Forests also provide a habitat for millions of plants and animals, as well as catchment for 75 percent of the world’s fresh water. They help in the adaptation to and mitigation of climate change, though they are under threat from deforestation.
Hunger and poverty tend to compel the disadvantaged to over-exploit resources on which their livelihoods depend. Policies, institutions, and strategies for protecting, conserving, and enhancing natural resources should be strengthened to deliver an enabling environment, and be based on the specific resource challenged faced in a given location.
Some of the achievements of MDG 7 include:
- The virtual elimination of ozone-depleting substances since 1990. Consequently, the ozone layer is expected to recover by around the middle of the century
- Substantial increase in marine and terrestrial protected areas in many areas since 1990. In Caribbean and Latin America, coverage of terrestrial protected areas increased from 8.8 percent in 1990 to 23.4 percent in 2014.
- The number of people using improved drinking water sources has increased from 76 percent in 1990 to 91 percent in 2015.
- 2.6 billion people have gained access to better drinking water since 1990. Of these, 1.9 billion have access to piped drinking water on premises, with 58 percent of the global population enjoying this level of service in 2015.
- 147 nations in the world have fulfilled the drinking water target; 95 nations have achieved the sanitation target; and 77 nations have met both.
- 2.1 billion people in the universe have gained access to improved sanitation. At the same time, the proportion of people practising open defecation has reduced by nearly 50 percent since 1990.
- A reduction in the proportion of urban population in developing nations living in slums from 39.4 to 29.7 percent in the period between 2000 and 2014.
Target #1: Integrating the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes
First, the net loss of forest cover has slowed in recent years, due to a slight decrease in deforestation, increase in afforestation, and the natural expansion of forests in some nations. Net loss in forest cover reduced from 8.3 million hectares annually in 1990 to 5.2 million hectares annually each year between 2000 and 2010.
Still, deforestation remains high in many regions. South America, Africa, and Oceania have reported significant net losses of forest area, due to severe drought and forest fires in Oceania. Asia, however, registered a net gain of 2.2 million hectares annually from 2000 to 2010.
Second, there are rising global greenhouse emissions. Between 1990 and 2012, CO2 global emissions increased by over 50 percent, mostly due to the growth in developing regions. This rise is projected to further warm the planet, resulting in long-lasting changes in the climate system, and possibly severe and irreversible consequences for people and ecosystems, like food shortages and longer lasting weather extremes.
Third, the ozone layer is on path to recovery. Under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer agreed in 1987, 197 parties have phased out 98 percent of all primary ozone-depleting substances, resulting in projected recovery of the ozone layer by 2050. This move is also expected to prevent up to 2 million cases of skin cancer annually by 2030.
Fourth, increased exploitation of marine fisheries is threatening livelihoods, food security, economies, and ecosystems. Between 1974 and 2011, the number of marine fish stocks within safe biological limits dropped by 19 percent, from 90 percent to 71 percent. As a result, fish stocks in 2015 are below the level at which they can maximise sustainable yields. That said, some areas in Europe, Oceania, and North America have successfully rebuilt some of their over-fished stocks.
Fifth, water scarcity seems to be on the rise. While only 9 percent of renewable fresh water resources are withdrawn globally by municipalities, industries, and agriculture, which is well below the 25 percent withdrawal threshold that marks the start of physical water stress, 41 countries experienced water stress in 2011; an increase from 36 countries in 1998. Worse still, 10 countries from Northern Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and Central Asia withdrew more than 100 percent of renewable fresh water, which means they are depleting their renewable groundwater resources.
Many regions have increased their terrestrial protected areas significantly since 1990, especially in Latin America where it rose from 8.8 to 23.4 percent between 1990 and 2014, and Western Asia where it more than quadrupled from 3.7 to 14.4 percent in the same period.
Between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of the world population using improved drinking water source and using improved sanitation facility has increased significantly, surpassing the MDG target in 2010.
The lives of slum dwellers have also improved considerably since 2000 to 2015, with more than 320 million people gaining access to improved water, durable housing, improved sanitation, or less crowded housing conditions. This means that the MDG7 target was surpassed.
Although MDG7 targets have been largely achieved, environmental sustainability is still a core pillar of the post-2015 agenda, as healthy, diverse, and well-managed ecosystems can play a critical role in improving livelihoods and mitigating future environmental challenges.
Essay on Sustainable Development of Environment!
Sustainable development is the need of the present time not only for the survival of mankind but also for its future protection. Unlike the other great revolutions in human history the Green Revolution and the Industrial Revolution the ‘sustainable revolution’ will have to take place rapidly, consciously and on many different levels and in many different spheres, simultaneously.
On the technical level, for example, it will involve the sustainable technologies based upon the use of non-renewable, fossil fuels for technologies that take advantage of renewable energies like the sun, wind and biomass, the adoption of conservation and recycling practices on a wider scale, and the transfer of f cleaner and more energy efficient technologies to countries in the developing world.
On the political and economic levels, it will involve, among other things, the overhauling of development and trade practices which tend to destroy the environment, and the improvement of indigenous peoples, a fairer distribution of wealth and resources within and between nations, the charging of true cost for products which exploit or pollute the environment, and the encouragement of sustainable practices through fiscal and legal controls and incentives.
On the social plane, it will involve a renewed thrust towards universal primary education and health care, with particular emphasis on the education and social liberation of women. On the environmental level, we are talking about massive afforestation projects, renewed research into and assistance for organic farming practices and biopest control, and the vigorous protection of biodiversity. On the informational level, the need is for data that will allow the development of accurate social and environmental accountancy systems.
The aim of ecologically sustainable development is to maximise human well-being or quality of life without jeopardising the life support system. The measures for sustainable development may be different in developed and developing countries according to their level of technological and economic development.
But developing countries, like India, can focus attention on the following measures:
1. ensure clean and hygienic living and working conditions for the people;
2. sponsor research on environmental issues pertaining to the region;
3. ensure safety against known and proven industrial hazards;
4. find economical methods for salvaging hazardous industrial wastes;
5. encourage afforestation;
6. find out substitutes for proven hazardous materials based on local resources and needs instead of blindly depending on advanced nations to find solutions;
7. ensuring environmental education as a part of school and college curriculum;
8. encourage use of non-conventional sources of energy, specially solar energy;
9. as far as possible, production of environment-friendly products should be encouraged;
10. use of organic fertilisers and other bio techniques should be popularised;
11. environmental management is the key for sustainable development, and it should include monitoring and accountability; and
12. Need for socialisation and also humanisation of all environmental issues.
The prime need for sustainable development is the conservation of natural resources. For conservation, the development policy should follow the following norms:
(i) Make all attempts not to impair the natural regenerative capacity of renewable resources and simultaneously avoid excessive pollution hampering the biospherical capacity of waste assimilation and life support system.
(ii) All technological changes and planning strategy processes, as far as physically possible, must attempt switch from non-renewable to renewable resource uses.
(iii) Formulate a phase-out policy for the use of non-renewable resources in general.
Thus, for a worldwide sustainable growth, there is need for efficient and effective management of available resources. In this field, the production of “environment-friendly products” (EFP) is a positive step. With the industrialisation and technological development, markets are flooded with products of daily consumption. They could however be a source of danger to health and damage to our environment.
There is thus need to distinguish the more environmentally harmful consumer products from those which are less harmful, or have a more benign impact on the environment right from the stage of manufacture through packaging, distribution, use, disposal and reusability or recycling.
Throughout the world, emphasis is now being put on the production of EFP. In India, plans are afoot to market EFPs with combined efforts of Bureau of Indian Standards, Ministry of Environment and Forests and Central Pollution Control Board. Since 1990, a scheme of labelling ECOMARK has also been started. In its first phase, the items included in this are soaps, plastics, papers, cosmetics, colours, lubricating oil, pesticides, drugs and various edible items.
The objectives of the scheme are:
(i) to provide an incentive for manufactures and to reduce adverse environmental impact of their products, (ii) to reward genuine initiatives by companies to reduce adverse environmental impact of their products, (iii) to assist consumers to become responsible in their daily lives by providing them information to take account of environmental factors in their purchase decisions, (iv) to encourage citizens to purchase products which have less harmful environmental impact, and (v) to improve the quality of the environment and to encourage the sustainable management of resources.
Not only in consumer goods production but in the field of energy production also, environment-friendly techniques of power generation can be used. For example, in power production from coal, PFBC (Pressurised Fluidised Bed Combined Cycle) technique is useful in which coal is burnt efficiently and cleanly in combined cycle plants.
To cope with increased demand of the basic requirement of life and the limited supply of the natural resources, along with consideration of environmental degradation and ecological balance, we need to emphasise on optimal management of land, water, minerals and other natural resources. There is also need to utilize the native wisdom of those people, who live close to nature and earth, for eco-restoration along with development.
In order to apply the principle of sustainable management in reality, a highly complex way of looking at the problem is required, involving various disciplines. Sustainability is first and foremost a mental question. Without a grasp of the need or the will to change awareness, we will not succeed in realising the principle of sustainability in agriculture.
It is upon the decision-makers in politics to create the right framework and the pre-conditions for a sustainable development in agriculture. Global involvement, on the other hand, must not be left out of account. Sustainability reflects our understanding of necessity and responsibility on the question for whom, for what and how production can be guided into the future in a way that is efficient, environmentally sound and sparing on resources.
Global change is an ecological phenomenon, whereas globalisation is concerned with economic change. A recent analysis of sustainable agriculture in the context of trade liberalisation and globalisation raises equally significant concern for a more informed decision-making process at local, regional and international levels.
The emerging issues related to the impact of globalisation on sustainable agriculture are as follows:
1. There are explicit problems with the conventional theoretical economic conditions for agricultural sustainability, especially when applied at the global level.
2. The processes of trade liberalisation and globalisation will not be uniform given the ecological and institutional diversity of the nations of the world.
3. There will be disparities in globalised impacts between rich and poor countries for agriculture, industries, sustainability and environment as well as income and poverty.
4. There is need for serious analysis of problems and policy initiatives, since the risk of disruption to agricultural systems and environmental deterioration, social disruption and dislocation in the poorer countries of the world is clearly very high.
5. The type of production technology research, facilitated by private research, will not address the significant public good and externality issues facing developing countries.
6. There is need to focus on local farming situations as a basis of dealing with global problems, especially in poor countries.
7. There is need to understand local institutional situations so as to determine appropriate remedial economic policies based on institutional sustainability.
8. Integrated approach is essential for research and action at the regional scale related to water, atmosphere and climate, and species and ecosystems.
The pursuit of sustainability demands choices about the distribution of costs and benefits in space and time. There is also need to take advantage of the ‘traditional ecological knowledge’ (TEK), which encompasses all issues related to ecology and natural resource management, both at local and regional levels. Along with political dimensions of environment-society relations, the TEK can be used for both eco-restoration and sustainable development.