Things you need to know about sustainable development – Part II

It is only when something disastrous happen that we realize and take steps to prevent the consequences. Ozone depletion due to automobile emissions and plastic pollution are examples of such situations that we have dealt with in the past. Ensuring sustainability in our actions and realizing our responsibility to sustain our natural wealth without compromising development should be our top most priority. Moving towards sustainable development is a long and complex process. Understanding the challenges involved is as important as setting the goals for sustainable development. Read on to know more about the various challenges that are faced while moving towards sustainability.

CHALLENGES FACED IN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

With the population growing rapidly, the earth’s natural resources are depleting at a faster rate. Most resources that are used now are non-renewable and they are depleting at a quicker phase than ever before. At this rate, the earth’s natural resources may run out sooner than the estimated time. Hence we must take responsibility to sustain the resources without compromising development.

Moving towards sustainable development is a long and complex process. Understanding the challenges involved is as important as setting the goals for sustainable development. Here are some of the major challenges that are faced while moving towards sustainable development.

Global warming and Emissions

Climatic change creates numerous challenges for sustainable development and the effects are felt in every part of the globe. Climatic changes may lead to the loss of biodiversity which creates an imbalance in nature’s ecosystem. Increasing levels of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) has led to the escalated temperature of the earth’s surface. The emissions from automobiles and industries play a major role in GHG emissions. Global trade expansion has also significantly increased carbon dioxide emissions owing to the increase in transportation. It is estimated that internationally traded goods impact emissions at about 50% more than locally traded goods.

This global issue must be first addressed at the organization level. The first priority is to estimate emissions to reduce them as much as possible. The second priority is to control the emissions through appropriate control measures like Installing high-efficiency equipment or machinery, utilizing green energy sources, or alternative energy sources that reduce carbon emissions.

Alternative energy sources

Green power or Green energy is a term used for energy obtained from renewable sources. Green energy sources help reduce emissions, thus contributing to the sustainability of the environment. As the earth’s natural energy resources are depleted at a very fast rate, there is a need for developing alternative energy sources that are renewable and reliable. They include energy sources like solar energy, wind, hydropower, geothermal, and biomass. Other sources like nuclear energy or fuel cells are also included in this category.

Finding a reliable energy source that can be installed on-site has various benefits like lessened power distribution system, cost reduction, and lower energy losses. Recently, highly efficient and emission-free vehicles that utilize alternative energy sources are gaining popularity among the public. In India, the electric vehicle market grew by 20% during 2019-2020. It is also estimated that by 2030 more than 125 million electric vehicles will be on road. This is a very good example of the practical implementation of clean energy which can be available to everyone. 

The role of Water

‘Water is at the core of sustainable development’ is the first sentence in the World Water Development Report 2015. It is a critical component for a healthy ecosystem, human survival, and also socio-economic development. Water can be a serious threat to sustainable development if it is not managed efficiently. Water can Global demand for water is estimated to increase by 55% by 2050 but it is also estimated that by 2025, more than 65% of the world’s population may suffer from water scarcity if water consumption patterns don’t change. The demand for fresh and clean water is increasing day by day.

Goal 6 of the sustainable development goals is to ‘ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation of all’. Various measures have been taken so far for accomplishing this goal. The percentage of the population having access to safe drinking water has increased from 61% to 71% between 2000 and 2015. But despite the efforts still billions of people lack safe water, sanitation, and handwashing facilities.

Natural disasters

Natural calamities have the potential to shift the flow of water. The elements of infrastructure can be destroyed due to natural occurrences such as earthquakes, cyclones, and tsunamis. The coastal areas and islands are the most prone areas to such disasters. There is a significant threat to sustainability as the ecosystem and other valuable resources might be damaged or destroyed during an unexpected disaster. It is instinctive for humans to focus on a problem only when something disastrous happens. Ozone depletion due to automobile emissions and plastic pollution are examples of such situations we have dealt with in the past. While every problem we’ve faced may have been solved using a reactive way, going against sustainability is a monumental problem. We may not be able to deal with it after we’ve consumed or polluted every resource we were bestowed with. Ensuring sustainability in our actions and realizing our responsibility to sustain our natural wealth without compromising development should be our topmost priority. Being proactively involved is the only way to secure sustainability.

Written By –

Davis Franco

UPES, Dehradun

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