Sustainable development resources for future generations and their conservation are important topics for Andhra Pradesh PSC

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Sustainable Development Goal 4

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Environmentally Sustainable Development

There is much reference on the part of economists and governments to the concept of "environmentally Sustainable development". However, this is in general only an attempt to take some steps to reduce the environmental impact of economic activity, but there is never any Question of reducing the volume of production and sales, or of eliminating grossly unnecessary or wasteful or luxurious production. "Ecologically Sustainable Development" is only about looking for ways of continuing to produce, but. in ways that will have reduce environment impact. The crucial point IS that the volume of production and consumption taking place is far beyond levels that can be kept up, extended to all the worlds people, or remedied by technical advances. The inescapable conclusion from the limits to growth analysis of our situation is that. there must be drastic reduction in the volume of economic activity taking place in the world at. present.. This is the last thing that economists, corporations. and governments want to year, 80 they opt to pretend that it is sufficient to look for less environmentally damaging ways of continuing to produce and sell as much as possible.

The Near Future

Most of the destruction of the environment has taken place since 1950; i.e., in the short period of rapid economic growth. The rate of impact on the ecosystems of the planet will probably increase greatly in coming decades.

  • World population will multiply by 1.5.

  • People in poor countries, who will probably outnumber us by 6 or 8 to 1 late next century, also want the high material living standards we have in rich countries like Australia.

  • Resources are becoming more scarce, meaning more effort., more . fuel , and pollution will be involved in gelling them, and more pressure on untouched natural areas such as Antarctica

  • Even people in the richest countries insist on endlessly increasing the amount they produce and consume every year. It is therefore virtually certain that the present. quite disturbing levels of impact will become several times as great in coming decades.

The Economy: Basic Cause of the Problem

It is essential to realize that it is our economic system that is mainly responsible for the destructive effects we are having on our environment. The biggest contribution to saving ecosystems would come with elimination of our enormous volume of unnecessary production, resource use and the associated ecological disruption, but our economic system will not allow uS to reduce production to levels that are merely sufficient for a reasonable lifestyle. Unless production and consumption increase the economy is in trouble, even though developed countries now produce far more than is necessary.


Are you dark green or only light green? Unfortunately most concern about the environment at present is only devoted to saving areas or species threatened by growth and affluence society, or to working for less polluting ways or for recycling schemes or more energy efficient transport etc. without any thought of changing from a society that is obsessed with growth and affluence. Such "light green" efforts are important. and admirable but many people concerned about the environment fail to see that there is no chance of solving the environment problem unless we change to a radical conserver society involving very different lifestyles, patterns of settlement, levels of consumption and economic arrangements.

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