What is Sustainable Development?
Sustainable development is the idea that human societies must live and meet their needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
The official definition of sustainable development was developed for the first time in the Brundtland Report in 1987. In other words, sustainable development is a way of organisation today’s society so that it can exist in the long term. This means taking into account both the imperatives of the present and those of the future, such as the preservation of the environment and natural resources or social and economic equity.
Furthermore, the Brundtland Report, warned for the very first time of the negative environmental consequences of economic growth and globalisation and tried to find possible solutions to the problems caused by industrialisation and population growth.
How to achieve Sustainable Development?
Many of the pressing issues currently faced by mankind, such as climate change, water scarcity, inequality, hunger and food security, can only be resolved at a global community level. In other words, by promoting sustainable development: a commitment to social progress, environmental balance and economic growth.
Therefore, as part of the sustainable development roadmap, the United Nations approved the 2030 Agenda, which contains the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In other words, the SDGs are an international call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people living on the planet enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.
The 17 SDGs are integrated – that is, they recognise that action in one area will affect outcomes in others, and that development in any form must balance environmental, social and economic and sustainability.
The Sustainable Development Goals are important, world changing objectives that will require cooperation between State Governments, international organisations and world leaders. Therefore, it seems impossible that you as an average person can make an impact yes?
NO! Change can only happen if it starts with you. Seriously. Every human on earth – even the laziest or most indifferent person – is part of the solution. However, fortunately there are some extremely easy things that we can all adopt into our daily routines that, if we all do them together, will make a big difference to our future and the future of generations to come.
Things that you can do from the sofa:
- Save electricity by turning off your lights or plugging appliances into a power strip and turning them off completely when not in use, including your TV and computer.
- Stop paper bank statements and pay all of your bills online or via a mobile app.
- Share don’t just like. For instance, if you see an interesting post on social media about racial inequality or climate change, share it so that other people in your network can see it too.
- Speak up! Ask your local and national authorities to engage in initiatives that don’t harm people or the planet.
- Report online bullies. For example, if you notice harassment online don’t just scroll past it thinking that somebody else will report it. Flag that person or group of people!
- Stay informed. Follow your local news and search for civil society organisations and NGOs in your local area who are seeking to make a difference.
Things that you can do from home:
- Let your clothes dry naturally instead of running a machine.
- Take short showers instead of baths. Bathtubs require gallons more water than a 5 – 10 minute shower.
- Freeze produce that is going out of date and your leftover food. You can do this with take- away or delivered food. This will not only save food but money too!
- Prevent landfills from growing by recycling paper, plastics, glass and aluminium (food tins).
- Try to buy minimally packaged goods.
- Adjust your thermostat to the season.
- Replace old appliances with energy efficient models.
- Use energy efficient light bulbs.
- If you have the option why not install solar panels in your garden or on the roof of your house. This will reduce your electricity bills and provide you with some interesting party conversation!
- Get a rug. Carpets and rugs retain a lot of heat and therefore help to keep you house warm.
Things you can do on the move
- Shop local. Supporting local businesses not only keeps people employed but it also means that lorries don’t have to travel long distances to get to you.
- Shop smart – plan meals, use shopping lists and avoid impulse buys. Don’t succumb to marketing tricks that lead you to buy more food than you need, particularly for perishable items.
- Buy funny fruit – many fruits and vegetables are thrown away because of their size, shape or colour or because they are otherwise ‘not right’. However, buying these perfectly goof funny fruits, at your local market or elsewhere, utilises food that might otherwise go to waste.
- Bike, walk or take public transport. Save the car trips for when you’ve got a big group.
- Use a refillable water bottle and coffee cup. This not only saves waste, but it may also save you some money.
- Bring your own bags when you shop. Pass on the plastic bag and start carrying your own reusable bags for life or totes.
- Take fewer napkins. You don’t need handfuls and handfuls of napkins when you eat your takeout so just take what you need.
Things you can do at work
- Mentor young people. Its thoughtful, inspiring and a powerful way to guide someone towards a better more sustainable future.
- Women earn 10 to 30 percent less than men for the same work. Pay inequality persists everywhere. Raise your voice and support equal pay for equal work.
- Make sure your company or the company you work for uses energy efficient heating and cooling technology.
- Stay informed! Read about workers in other countries and business practices. Talk to your colleagues about these issues.
- Raise your voice against any type of discrimination in your office. Everyone is equal regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation, social background or physical abilities.
- Examine and change everyday decisions. Can you recycle at your workplace? Is your company buying from merchants engaging in harmful ecological practices?
- Know your workplace rights to ensure that you and your colleagues have access to justice.