Sustainability vs Sustainable Development
Sustainability is a word that comes from the word sustain. It means the ability to sustain. Sustain means to endure, support or to hold for a long time. There is also a concept called sustainable development that confuses many. This is because of the overlapping and similarities between the two. However, sustainable development has a deeper meaning for our environment, culture, economy etc that makes it a concept far more important for the human race. The differences between the two concepts will he talked about in this article.
What is Sustainability?
Sustainability is a state of living that is able to continue for long. It applies to ecosystems and animal kingdom also but since late 80’s sustainability has been increasingly talked about in terms of human beings and their future on planet Earth. Mankind has been living on Earth for thousands of years, but in the last few thousand years, there have been changes in the environment and ecosystems brought about by the manner in which human beings have exploited natural resources. Humans have made use of agriculture to fulfill its requirements and needs. All this has led to massive changes in not just the economy, society, and the environment, but also left indelible carbon footprints on ecosystems, and the ability of Mother Earth to replenish itself.
Today, the word “sustainability” has become very common and used in daily lives by most of us. We tend to talk about sustainable energy, sustainable ecosystems, and sustainable development, and so on to imply the concern for the environment and planet earth in general.
What is Sustainable Development?
The concept of sustainable development came to the limelight with Brundtland Declaration of 1987. It defined sustainable development as a pattern of growth and development that meets the needs and requirements of the present, without compromising with the ability of our future generations, to meet their requirements and needs. It became evident that the world community was concerned at the state of affairs in the field of exploitation of natural resources and the manner in which infrastructure was sought to being developed at the cost of environment and ecosystems.
With every passing decade ever since the world witnessed industrial revolution and used natural resources of energy (read fossil fuels) for its growing energy requirements, the world has today come to the brink of over exploitation. There is every danger of leaving little for our future generations. This means that; we are compromising with the ability of future generations to meet their needs, to fulfill our needs, rather wants, and even luxuries.
What is the difference between Sustainability and Sustainable Development?
• Sustainability is the ability to endure or hold on while sustainable development is a strategy to achieve development without compromising with the ability of our future generations to fulfill their needs
• Sustainability looks at saving the environment as the primary objective while sustainable development focuses on development of infrastructure, keeping the environment clean, to achieve growth
• Since the world is not unanimous on defining the needs of human beings (often confusing between needs and wants), it is hard to correctly differentiate between sustainability and sustainable development
• Sustainability is the ability to sustain and hence the desired end product of a lifestyle whereas sustainable development is a growth strategy to minimize carbon footprints to leave the planet for the use of future generations