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Master of Technology – Environmental Planning

Date: August 14, 2008

Rutool Sharma

Faculty of Planning & Public Policy


Centre for Environmental Planning & Technology (CEPT) University, Ahmedabad
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Examples

LESSONS FROM OTHER CIVILIZATIONS & SOCIETIES


 Carthage - at the height of its civilization and power had more than one million
inhabitants and had an abundant food supply from the cultivation and grazing
in the fertile lowlands between the coast and Atlas mountains.

 Rome conquered Carthage and decided to make Carthage a colonial food


supplier for the Roman empire.

 A cycle of irreversible land degradation began, which impoverished people


through history to present.

 Rome opted for intensive cultivation with maximum yield per acre.

 When the fertility began to decline, it planted even more intensively to “make
up” the declining yield.

 Productivity naturally declined even more.

Source: Topsoil & Civilization by Dale and Carter


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Examples

LESSONS FROM OTHER CIVILIZATIONS & SOCIETIES

 Rome spread cultivation and grazing into marginal and upland areas,
triggering a cycle of erosion

 This triggered the cycle of erosion and declined productivity which ultimately
ruined the land forever.

Source: Topsoil & Civilization by Dale and Carter

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Examples

LESSONS FROM OTHER CIVILIZATIONS & SOCIETIES

 In contrast, civilization of Egypt persisted from the time of Cleopatra until the
20th century on a “sustainable” basis

 The annual spring flooding of the Nile provided both water and a replenishment
of soil nutrients

 Ironically, now in 20th century, Aswan Dam was constructed due to which this
stable system declined

Results
- Decline in soil fertility due to addition of artificial soil fertilizers
- Severe impacts upon health, sustenance and ecology
- Alteration in hydrology due to salt water intrusion into delta region

Source: Topsoil & Civilization by Dale and Carter

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Conceptual interaction of Economic & Natural systems
Minerals / Nutrients
Silt
Clear / denuded land

Land / Habitat

Living natural resources


(forests, fisheries, species)
Products Economic Natural
Systems Renewable energy Systems

Non-living natural resources


(fuels, minerals, water, air)

Thermal energy
Gases like carbon dioxide
Air / water pollution, solid waste

Source: Principles of Sustainable Development, F. Douglas Muschett


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Contents

CONTENTS
1. Definitions

2. Evolution of the concept of ‘Sustainable Development’

3. Bruntland Report
• Key concepts
• Concept, Principles and Importance of ‘Sustainable Development’
• Major outcomes

1. World’s response to the concept

2. Application of Sustainable Development

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SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

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Definition (Bruntland Report)

Sustainable development

passing on to future generations

an equal or preferably enhanced stock

of economic, natural, social and human capital.

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Definition (Bruntland Report)

 It is a process of developing land, cities, business,


communities, and so on that “meets the needs of the present
without comprising the ability of future generations to meet
their own needs.”

 It's about the kind of world we want to leave for posterity.

 What sort of world would we like to leave for our children and
their grandchildren?

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Definition

Hawken -- Sustainability as “an economic state where the demands placed


upon the environment by people and commerce can be met without reducing
the capacity of the environment to provide for future generations” (1993).

Common -- “To sustain is to support without collapse and the sustainability


problem is taken to be: how to address problems of inequality and poverty in
ways that do not affect the environment so as to reduce humanity’s future
prospects” (1995).

Dryzek -- “The legitimate development aspirations of the world’s peoples


cannot be met by all countries following the growth path already taken by the
industrialized countries, for such action would over-burden the world’s
ecosystems;” however, since improving the conditions of the world’s poor is a
desired international goal, economic growth should be promoted “in ways that
are both environmentally benign and socially just. Justice here refers not only
to distribution within the present generation, but also to distribution across
future generations” (1997).

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Definition
Elkington -- “It’s the principle of ensuring that our actions today do not limit
the range of economic, social, and environmental options open to future
generations” (1998).

Meadows -- “Sustainable development is a social construct, referring to the


long-term evolution of a hugely complex system — the human population and
economy embedded within the ecosystems and biogeochemical flows of the
planet” (1998).

Berke and Conroy -- “A dynamic process in which communities anticipate


and accommodate the needs of current and future generations in ways that
reproduce and balance local social, economic, and ecological systems, and
link local actions to global concerns” (2000).

More than 100 definitions of Sustainable Development have


come-up, however the definitions put forward by Brundtland
Commission is most widely accepted and followed definition.
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Evolution of the concept

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Evolution of the concept

• The concept of ‘sustainability’ or ‘sustainable development’


has been discussed at international medium since long time.

• Certain publications in late 1960’s and early 1970’s inspired


interest in the environmental movement.

a. In 1962 - Rachel Carson’s ‘Silent Spring’


b. In 1968 - Garret Hardin’s ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’

• Many people in the 1960s predicted a doomsday in the 1960s.

• Called for an immediate moratorium on growth, for they


believed growth to be the root cause of environmental
destruction.

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Evolution of the concept

1972 (UN Conference on the Human Environment, Stockholm)

• The relationship between economic development &


environmental degradation was first placed on the international
agenda.

• Set up United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which


today continues to act as a global catalyst for action to protect
the environment.

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Evolution of the concept

• However, in the succeeding years little effort was done to


integrate environmental concerns into national economic
planning and decision making.

• Overall, environment continued to deteriorate, resulting in


global problems such as
- Ozone depletion

- Global warming

- Water pollution grew more serious

- Destruction of natural resources accelerated at an alarming rate

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Evolution of the concept

1983 (UN set up the World Commission on Environment and


Development - WCED)

• Environmental degradation, which had been seen as a side


effect of industrial wealth with only a limited impact, was
understood to be a matter of survival for developing nations

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Evolution of the concept
1987 (World Commission on Environment and Development)

- Published a report entitled ‘Our common future’

- Report was prepared under leadership by Gro Harlem Brundtland


of Norway

- The Commission put forward the concept of ‘Sustainable


Development’ as an alternative approach to one simply based on
economic growth.

- Defines “which meets the needs of the present without


compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own
needs”.

- The document is also known as ‘Brundtland Report’

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Evolution of the concept

Brundtland Commission started looking for environmental issues:

• People responded with many interrelated issues: jobs, health,


ecological productivity, education, international trade

Conclusion:

“Sustainability is not as much about the environment as it is


about our communities and economic systems and their
future survival”

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Bruntland Report

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Bruntland report

• Report developed guiding principles for sustainable


development

• Reasons for critical global environmental problems:


- Enormous poverty of the South
- Non-sustainable patterns of consumption & production in the North.

• Report suggested to formulate a strategy, now-common term


‘Sustainable development’.

• In 1989, the report was debated in the UN General Assembly,


which decided to organize a UN Conference on Environment
and Development.

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The concept of Sustainable Development

Point 1:

• The major objective of development is to satisfy human needs


and aspirations.
Needs: food, clothing, shelter, job etc.
Aspirations: better quality of life

• In developing countries these needs of people are not satisfied.

• Poverty is widespread and imbalance is common

• In such situation, the ecological crisis / environmental


degradation will occur and cannot be avoided

• Sustainable Development requires meeting the basic needs of all


and extending to all the opportunity to satisfy their aspirations.

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The concept of Sustainable Development

It contains within it two key concepts:

• the concept of 'needs', in particular the essential needs of the


world's poor, to which overriding priority should be given;

• and the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology


and social organizations on the environment's ability to meet
present and future needs.

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The concept of Sustainable Development

Point 2:

Living
Standards

Consumption
standards

• Consumption standards – within bounds of ecological possible


and to which all can reasonably aspire.

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The concept of Sustainable Development

Point 3:

Population

Pressure on
resources

• Demographic developments are not in harmony with the


changing productive potential of the ecosystem

• Over-exploitation of resources - to meet the ever-increasing


needs of the people

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The concept of Sustainable Development

Point 4:

• Increasing human intervention of natural systems


- diversion of natural water courses,
- extraction of minerals,
- emission of harmful gases, etc.

• These interventions are becoming more drastic in scale and


impact

• Sustainable development must not endanger the natural systems


that support life on Earth i.e. the atmosphere, water, soil and
living beings

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Key concepts of sustainability

• Today’s needs should not compromise on the ability of future


generations to meet their needs;

• A direct link exists between the economy and environment;

• The needs of the poor in all nations must be met;

• In order for our environment to be protected, the economic


conditions of the world’s poor must be improved;

• In all our actions, we must consider the impact upon future


generations.

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Key principles

It puts together two irreconcilable principles:

a. Environmental Sustainability

a. Economic Development

This has led to two interpretations of Sustainable Development:

• Eco-centric: which puts Global Ecology first

• Anthropocentric: which puts human well-being first

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Importance of the concept

Concept of Sustainable Development is not only development


which will conserve our resources and not destroy and damage
them, as our present development models are doing.

Sustainable Development is important because it is development


for all and not for few in the society.

Sustainable development is one of those rare concepts and


strategies that theoretically leaps far beyond political divisions and
unites all of humanity around such common values and concerns
as human health, ecosystem health, security, justice, education,
jobs, and the future.

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Major outcomes

World’s natural resources already strained, & could not accommodate


the development of the rest of the world, through rapid industrialisation
and conspicuous consumption, to the standard of living enjoyed in
developed countries.

Development not about getting richer, but about meeting essential


human needs & aspirations – emphasis on quality of & not quantity of
economic growth.

In order to sustain the progress of humanity, overriding priority to be


given to meeting essential human needs, e.g. education, health, clean
air & water.

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Major outcomes

When essential needs have been met, aspirations can legitimately


be pursued, at a level that all can reasonably aspire to, & within
ecological capacity.

Technological innovation alone insufficient, social re-organisation


also required.

Sustainability implied a concern for equity between generations, a


concern that had to be logically extended to equity within each
generation.

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World’s response to the concept

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World’s response to the concept

The report had profound impact at the international level and in


countries all around the globe.

This report helped to shape the international agenda and the


international community's attitude towards economic, social and
environmental development.

1992 - The "United Nations Conference on Environment and


Development" (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro

- largest gathering of world leaders that has ever taken place.


- 177 countries in the world attended the "Eco Summit", more than 100 of
them represented by the Head of State.

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World’s response to the concept

The Earth Summit Agreements:

In Rio, 108 representatives of various countries - adopted three


major agreements aimed at changing the traditional approach to
development:

1. Agenda 21: a comprehensive programme of action for global


action in all areas of sustainable development;

2. The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development: a series


of principles defining the rights and responsibilities of States;

3. The Statement of Forest Principles: a set of principles to


underlie sustainable management of forests worldwide.

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World’s response to the concept

In addition, following two legally binding Conventions were opened


for signature at the Summit:

1. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change:


preventing global climate change

2. The Convention on Biological Diversity

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Application of Sustainable Development

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Areas of application

Sustainable development is wide-ranging in its application


reaching out to:

1. Land use, including forestry;

2. Water;

3. Air and pollution control;

4. Industry;

5. Energy;

6. Human resources

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Application of Sustainable Development

Practical application of Sustainable Development:

1. Choose projects which are not resource-consuming, which are not


resource damaging and resource destroying.

2. To build into every project into the means of conserving the


resource which have to be used, renewing resources which have
to be consumed and countering the damage and pollution to
environment that emerges as a result of development.

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Ineffectiveness

A. Law, legislation etc. – implementation

- Interpretation is not well defined. It depends on the view


point of the observer.

- Knowledge regarding Rights & Duties not clear

- Less Legal awareness and approach to law / court is


difficult, time consuming and costly

- Mindset to avoid going to court

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Ineffectiveness

B. Conflicts between the environmental requirements on one


hand and the day-to-day economic needs of the people.

Example:

Supreme court ordered the closure of large number of mines in the


Mussoorie hills. We have been enforcing it and stopped the mining
activities. But whereas the mining activities have been stopped and
reforestation of that area is underway, the problem of the hundreds of
people who have lost their jobs as a result of the closure of the mines
has not been considered. Similarly when because certain iron mines
have not complied with the rules and regulations and there is an order to
close them, there is the human problem of throwing out of employment
several thousand people working in them. When we talk of
environmental requirements on the one hand and the perceived conflict
with the basic economic needs of the people – not talking of the
economic gains but the bare earnings of the worker to feed and clothe
his family.`

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Ineffectiveness

 One of our former Prime Minister said: POVERTY POLLUTES

 We need to attend the basic requirements of people.

 For this, the process of development which benefits the poor


people will have to be accelerated and they will have to be
satisfied.

 We will have to recognize that the conflict is real, that the


problem of the economic needs of the people is real and that it
has to be addressed.

 When that happens, then automatically, they will contribute also


to a better environment.

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Ineffectiveness

C. Awareness

• Awareness is abysmally low, not only among the illiterate and


uneducated, but among all people, including educated and
uneducated, urbanities and ruralities.

• Awareness – in terms of the entire society

• The housewife will sweep her house, make it absolutely


spotlessly clean, and take all the rubbish and dump it over the
wall of the next house.

• Awareness promotion

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Ineffectiveness

D. Impact Assessment

• No scientifically designed tools for measuring sustainable


development

• Tools of measurement of sustainability should be able to put


down in figures, that this is the exact damage in rupees and
paisa, this is what happens if you take the two together, this is
the end result

• Details about each activity and impact of each of these activity


on nature and its magnitude

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Our common future

“The environment cannot be effectively protected without


economic development,

and

Economic development cannot be sustained without


environmental protection”

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Thank You !

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