Sustainable development is the need of the present time not only for the survival of mankind but also for its future protection. Unlike the other great revolutions in human history the Green Revolution and the Industrial Revolution the ‘sustainable revolution’ will have to take place rapidly, consciously and on many different levels and in many different spheres, simultaneously as it is primarily about protecting the environment.
On the technical level, for example, it will involve the sustainable technologies based upon the use of non-renewable, fossil fuels for technologies that take advantage of renewable energies like the sun, wind and biomass, the adoption of conservation and recycling practices on a wider scale, and the transfer off cleaner and more energy efficient technologies to countries in the developing world.
On the political and economic levels, it will involve, among other things, the overhauling of development and trade practices which tend to destroy the environment, and the improvement of indigenous peoples, a fairer distribution of wealth and resources within and between nations, the charging of true cost for products which exploit or pollute the environment, and the encouragement of sustainable practices through fiscal and legal controls and incentives.
On the social plane, it will involve a renewed thrust towards universal primary education and health care, with particular emphasis on the education and social liberation of women. On the environmental level, we are talking about massive afforestation projects, renewed research into and assistance for organic farming practices and bio pest control, and the vigorous protection of biodiversity. On the informational level, the need is for data that will allow the development of accurate social and environmental accountancy systems.
The aim of ecologically sustainable development is to maximize human well-being or quality of life without jeopardizing the life support system. The measures for sustainable development may be different in developed and developing countries according to their level of technological and economic development.
But developing countries, like India, can focus attention on the following measures:
- Ensure clean and hygienic living and working conditions for the people;
- Sponsor research on environmental issues pertaining to the region;
- Ensure safety against known and proven industrial hazards;
- Find economical methods for salvaging hazardous industrial wastes;
- Encourage afforestation
- Find out substitutes for proven hazardous materials based on local resources and needs instead of blindly depending on advanced nations to find solutions;
- Ensuring environmental education as a part of school and college curriculum;
- Encourage the use of non-conventional sources of energy, especially solar energy;
- as far as possible, the production of environment-friendly products should be encouraged;
- Use of organic fertilizers and other bio techniques should be popularised;
- Environmental management is the key to sustainable development, and it should include monitoring and accountability; and
- Need for socialization and also humanization of all environmental issues.
The prime need for sustainable development is the conservation of natural resources. For conservation, the development policy should follow the following norms:
- Make all attempts not to impair the natural regenerative capacity of renewable resources and simultaneously avoid excessive pollution hampering the bio spherical capacity of waste assimilation and life support system.
- All technological changes and planning strategy processes, as far as physically possible, must attempt to switch from non-renewable to renewable resource uses.
- Formulate a phase-out policy for the use of non-renewable resources in general.
Thus, for a worldwide sustainable growth, there is a need for efficient and effective management of available resources. In this field, the production of “environment-friendly products” (EFP) is a positive step. With the industrialization and technological development, markets are flooded with products of daily consumption. They could, however, be a source of danger to health and damage to our environment.
There is thus need to distinguish the more environmentally harmful consumer products from those which are less harmful or have a more benign impact on the environment right from the stage of manufacture through packaging, distribution, use, disposal and reusability or recycling.
The emerging issues related to the impact of globalisation on sustainable agriculture are as follows:
- There are explicit problems with the conventional theoretical economic conditions for agricultural sustainability, especially when applied at the global level.
- The processes of trade liberalisation and globalisation will not be uniform given the ecological and institutional diversity of the nations of the world.
- There will be disparities in globalised impacts between rich and poor countries for agriculture, industries, sustainability, and environment as well as income and poverty.
- There is the need for serious analysis of problems and policy initiatives since the risk of disruption to agricultural systems and environmental deterioration, social disruption, and dislocation in the poorer countries of the world is clearly very high.
- The type of production technology research, facilitated by private research, will not address the significant public good and externality issues facing developing countries.
- There is a need to focus on local farming situations as a basis of dealing with global problems, especially in poor countries.
- There is a need to understand local institutional situations so as to determine appropriate remedial economic policies based on institutional sustainability.
- An integrated approach is essential for research and action at the regional scale related to water, atmosphere and climate, and species and ecosystems.
The pursuit of sustainability demands choices about the distribution of costs and benefits in space and time. There is also a need to take advantage of the ‘traditional ecological knowledge’ (TEK), which encompasses all issues related to ecology and natural resource management, both at local and regional levels. Along with political dimensions of environment-society relations, the TEK can be used for both eco-restoration and sustainable development.