Sustainable Development Economy Economy: Sustainability INTRODUCTION • The desire to make something sustainable – to make it last – is a common human desire. • But sustainable development is • used regularly by a vast number of people, • in different ways • and to mean different things. Economy: Sustainability SYSTEMS AND HIERARCHIES • Consider interconnections or systems. • For a household, an area, a town, a country, a continent or more. • Systems might be based or focussed on: • People • Physical elements (e.g. water, air quality, resource, etc.) • Geographies • Or other elements. Economy: Sustainability POSSIBLE LEVELS Single Organisation Individual / group / team / company Multi-organisations Sector / bigger sector / cross sector / all Community Individual / network / linked networks Geographical Local / regional / national / international / global Economy: Sustainability ACTIVITY 1 Think about a ‘system’ (something you know well) – your family, your school, a club or society you belong to, a group of friends, etc. Try drawing the structure and connections of this group. Think about levels, links, inputs, sub-groups, what keeps the ‘system’ functioning. There is no right answer to this. Economy: Sustainability ACTIVITY 2 Collect four articles on environmental, economic and/or development issues. Use newspapers, online journals or blogs, or TV / Radio sources. For each item, answer the following questions: 1. What is the key point? 2. How do you feel about it (Agree? Disagree? Bored? Angry? Sad? Disbelief? etc.) 3. What are the environmental and / or development issues in the items? 4. Is there any unusual / subject specific language? 5. Are there any mentions of connections, global interdependencies, etc? Economy: Sustainability HISTORICAL CONTEXT FOR SUSTAINABILE DEVELOPMENT • Why did the Ancient Egyptian, Mayan and Polynesian civilisations collapse? • One of the theories is that human demand and exploitation damaged their support systems. • Combined with other factors, they could not ADAPT to the changes in time • and so could not continue their way of life. Economy: Sustainability PREDUCTIONS: PESSIMISTS? • • • • Malthus 1798 Mill (ca. 1800) Rachel Carson 1965 Silent Spring Club of Rome Report 1972 The Limits to Growth Many historically predicted problems have been solved but can we always find a technological solution to our problems? Economy: Sustainability RECENT MILESTONES - 1 1972 - international conference in Stockholm, Sweden “sustainable development” phrase first used 1980 - International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), produced the World Conservation Strategy 1983 - the Brandt Commission 1987 - “Our Common Future” and the ‘Brundtland’ definition “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Economy: Sustainability RECENT MILESTONES - 2 1992 - the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development); ‘Agenda 21’ - an extensive international agenda for action for sustainable development for the 21st century. 2000 - United Nations Millennium Summit, world leaders UN HQ New York adopted the United Nations Millennium Declaration, to reduce extreme poverty with a series of timebound targets - with a deadline of 2015 - that have become known as the Millennium Development Goals. 2002 - World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) took place in South Africa. Economy: Sustainability CONFLICTING ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT Different things to different people. Driven by individual, group or system values, beliefs and circumstances. Values something that you / a group thinks is ‘a good thing’ or ‘makes life meaningful’ Beliefs a starting point for a developed argument (not limited to a religious or faith context) Circumstances personal factors: such as parental influence, relative wealth, disability, gender, etc. Economy: Sustainability ACTIVITY 3 1. Choose a topic (e.g. nuclear power, wind generation, motorway construction, genetically-modified food, etc.). 2. Write one sentence on your view of this topic. 3. Now expand the sentence to include your perspective (where you’re coming from) and the basis of your opinion (brief reasons). 4. Analyse your statement – and note the values, beliefs and personal circumstances that have affected you viewpoint. Economy: Sustainability SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIES AND DEVELOPMENT CAN BE ASSISTED BY: Governments - using Laws, Guidelines, fines and tax advantages. These can be positive (incentives or rewards) or negative (punishments and fines) – or both. International trade bodies (e.g. EU initiatives, Carbon trading schemes /offsets, trade and import tariffs / bans, and more) Individuals – buying and investing ethically, supporting ‘green’ and / or ‘fairtrade’ producers / sellers; boycotting unethical companies / countries; living in a more ‘green’ or sustainable way, with less waste, etc. Economy: Sustainability ACTIVITY 4 1. Write down something you did recently as a purchaser or consumer. Make a short list (a) what factors (if any) you took into account beforehand; (b) your reasons for these; and (c) any factors that, looking back, you think might have thought about 2. Draw a diagram to show what led to your decision to purchase or consume in the way that you did. 3. List any values, beliefs and circumstances that are relevant to this situation. 4. If you think about your values and your behaviour in this example, are there any contradictions? If there are any, how could you put this right? Economy: Sustainability ACTIVITY 5 Discuss some of the issues involved and research the costs and benefits. Use this to report back to the class in a future lesson – or run as debates sessions in small groups. Examples could be: a) For some environmentalists, long distance flights are unsustainable. People who work in the airlines will probably disagree, however. b) Some people believe we should protect all the forests that are still standing. However, for many people in developing countries, the money to be made from logging and farming in forested areas is their best chance of escaping poverty. c) Some people think wind farms are an important alternative energy source – however, communities living near to proposed sites may not be so keen and the energy produced might not be the most cost effective.