The our species as well as the rest of this planet's life forms have been exposed to many dangers thanks to our lack of preservation of the environment. What has this brought us as a society? For one it has led to a rediscovery of what it means for many to live in harmony with the environment. Not like many think—hippies communing with nature—rather self-aware as we become aware of the damage we have caused to nature and the need to replace our old understanding. In this sense, society, in the present century and since the middle of the previous century, has turned its sight to ecology as a science that allows it to preserve nature under a scientific vision.
Governments throughout the world have rethought development styles with a more environmentalistic orientation (at least in theory), which has led them to understand our nature and their behavior through a science as interesting as the ecology.
Because it encompasses the study of all the interactions of living and non-living beings with the environment in which they encounter and the way they achieve their balance, in order to understand what phenomena cause an imbalance in the same. Through the increasing exploitation of natural resources and the degradation of ecosystems, we raise questions about the permanence and perpetuity of the resources needed to sustain the growth of human populations. These changes include the alteration of biotic communities, the extinction of species, changes in the resilience and resilience of ecosystems to disturbances, ecological processes that depart from their historical variability, changes in the nature of ecosystems and decoupling of important biogeochemical cycles (many of these changes due to the global warming phenomenon). Only by studying how the elements of nature interact with each other whether an understanding of the current environmental problem has been achieved, in such a way that the elements that are affecting the delicate balance of the environment have been found and understood.
These alarming processes of progressive destruction of our natural environments around the world have prompted recognition of the possible role of ecology in decision-making to reconcile the management of natural resources by the processes of growth and development of each nation.
While the challenges they face have a lot to do with the conservation and management of natural environments in countries with a very complex socio-economic problem, one which warrants short-term solutions in terms of survival and development, it is necessary to take into account that it is impossible to preserve and manage something that is not fully known.
That is why it is important to achieve a better understanding of the physical and biological processes that generate the unbridled growth and development of the planet's human populations should be one of the fundamental priorities of the ecological work of not just the developed countries, rather all nations in the present century.
Understanding the differences between sustainable and sustainable development is vital to understanding how environmental conception has gained ground since the end of the last century. The term sustainable refers to what is maintained over time, and sustainable to the elements necessary to live, in particular it refers more clearly to the type of content that development should have.
The first conception to consider itself at the global level was sustainable development.
When looking for a definition to describe—sustainable development—it is almost exclusively reduced to economic development, the growth of which is measured as an increase in gross domestic product or per capita income). It implies in its description that economic growth is constant over time (sustained economic growth) and, on the other hand, refers to environmental conservation as a localized policy that does not question or imply a rethinking of patterns consumption, production of goods, waste generation or impact on nature, but a simple isolation of certain geographical areas, no matter what happens in their environment (social problems, exclusion, etc.). Another characteristic of this current train of thought is that it does not give any relevance to social participation as a means of ensuring the sustainability of sustainable development, but, when it is raised, it is expressed as a vertical process, oriented up and down, where decision-making is unique to the spheres of power, preventing the population from participating in them, turning human ensembles into mere recipients of benefits passively, not allowing the empathy of the population to connect with the development processes.
This has been one of the major
Sustainable development, on the other hand, is interested not only in economic growth, but also how it is produced and how the created wealth is distributed. It emerges from the United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Report in 1996 (PDF), where it is established as a key element for economic growth and development that there is equity in the distribution of wealth, because the greater the the equality with which they are distributed and economic opportunities, the more likely they will result in an improvement of human well-being. This conception can be summed up as the need for inclusive and equitable economic growth, and to abandon that growth that is exclusionary and polarized, since the latter destroy the ecosystems in which they operate.
Here is an excerpt:
To support economic growth as a means to enrich people's lives, the Report demonstrates why:
- Over the past 15 years the world has seen spectacular economic advance for some countries – and unprecedented decline for others;
- Widening disparities in economic performance are creating two worlds – ever more polarized;
- Everywhere, the structure and quality of growth demand more attention – to contribute to human development, poverty reduction and long-term sustainability;
- Progress in human development has mostly continued – but too unevenly;
- New approaches are needed to expand and improve employment opportunities, so that people can participate in growth – and benefit from it; and
- Economic growth is not sustainable without human development.
The sustainable development to which is referred to emphasizes environmental sustainability as a fundamental element, which refers to the need for the impact of the development process not to irreversibly destroy ecosystems, since the frontier of possibility of environmental use (defined as the production possibilities that are compatible with environmental restrictions) is currently very narrow. On the other hand, social sustainability related to strengthening a style of development that does not perpetuate or deepen poverty or social exclusion, but has as one of its central objectives the eradication of it and social justice and, on the other hand horizontal social participation in decision-making. Finally, economic sustainability, which is understood as interrelated economic growth with the two elements above.
In this way, the achievement of sustainable human development will be the result of a new type of economic growth that promotes social equity, a substantial improvement in the quality of life of the vast majority of a society and establishes a non-destructive relationship with nature.