Environmental Sustainability And Growth

Ngawang Phuntsok
Mar 30, 2019   •  13 views

No power on Earth can stop an idea whose time has come'-Victor Hugo.

The idea of environmental sustainability has its genesis in the 1970s. The club of Rome advocated this idea,and was formally mentioned in the Bertland Commission report.Over the years,environment sustainability has become a focal point of governemnt action and civilsociety engagement. The questionfrequently arises,that whether environment sustainability is the antithesis of economic development?

Instead of being mutuallyexclusive ,environment sustainability sharesthe same and concordant objectives with economic development.

The ultimate goalof both is the progress of the human race in a sustained manner.The engagement ofenvironment sustainability with economic developmentwill lead to the best kind of growth of humans.

To understand the supposed exclusivity of two ideas ,it is imperetive to know how this approach came into being.Before industialisation's advent ,growth and economic trade was never seen as damaging the environment with the large scale technological advancements such as the steam engine by James Watt,setting up of large scale factories and clearing of forest land for plantations,the natural environment of cities and villages underwent change.

Soot and smog enveloped cities like London and in the olonies wide tracts of forest land was cleared. Laws such as the Forests Act ,1929 aimed to furtherthis hegemony of colonial control over forests. This led to the sowing of seeds of the opinion that economic development necessarily involves decimating the natural environment. The industrialists of the 19th and 20th century too did not seem to mind any harm to forests as it was believed there is ample of forest land left and their action is not going to make any difference.In 1950s,Rachel Canoon released her path breaking book 'silent spring' which brought attention to the impact of economic development on the environment.Since then,the idea of sustainable development gained traction.

At the same time ,globalisation in the post war period combined with the emergence of newly independent states led to double digit growth in various areas.As income rose inequalities became deeper.Many a times,this was at the expense of the environment.

The idea of economic development includes better infrastructure,better income,better investment,better choices of consumers. But,all of these are merely the means to achieve the end of progress of human kind to the best of its capabilities. If compared with the goal of environment sustainablity ,it will be seen that the goals of the two are mutually concordant.