Sustainable and Unsustainable Development

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Sustainable and Unsustainable development Sustainable Development Concept Sustainable development is a pattern of social and structured economic transformations (i. e. development) which optimizes the economic and societal benefits available in the present, without jeopardizing the likely potential for similar benefits in the future. A primary goal of sustainable development is to achieve a reasonable and equitably distributed level of economic well-being that can be perpetuated continually for many human generations.

Sustainable development implies using renewable natural resources in a manner which does not eliminate or degrade them, or otherwise diminish their usefulness for future generations. It further implies using non-renewable (exhaustible) mineral resources in a manner which does not unnecessarily preclude easy access to them by future generations. Sustainable development also requires depleting non-renewable energy resources at a slow enough rate so as to ensure the high probability of an orderly society transition to renewable energy sources.

Sustainable development is a broad concept covering the way in which human activities impact on economic development, the environment and social well-being. It is generally accepted that both governments and industry should promote development that is sustainable in all three dimensions, but practical application of the concept is complex because its objective assessment is elusive. While

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the concept can be readily and widely accepted in general terms, a consensus viewpoint on the value of individual actions is more difficult to achieve because of the absence of criteria permitting objective assessment of their “sustainable” qualities.

Some of the areas that come under the scope of sustainable development are : 1. Agriculture 2. Biotechnology 3. Energy 4. Forests 5. Water etc. Sustainable development is said to set limits on the developing world. While current first world countries polluted significantly during their development, the same countries encourage third world countries to reduce pollution, which sometimes impedes growth.

Some consider that the implementation of sustainable development would mean a reversion to pre-modern lifestyles. Sustainability in Construction Industry Sustainable Construction is the application of sustainable development to the construction industry. There is an increasing demand, in both the private and public sectors, to understand sustainable construction practices. This demand is driven by a realisation that sustainable practices make sense to both owners and operators.

The practices not only help the environment but can also improve economic profitability and improve relationships with stakeholder groups. The diagram below explains how sustainable development is implemented within the construction industry’s private and public sectors. Many construction companies are involved in implementing sustainable development practices and have made sustainability a key part of the design and construction process; many companies in India have successfully constructed “Green Buildings”.

Green buildings are constructions in which resources like energy, water, and materials are used efficiently, through better design, construction, operation, maintenance, and removal of waste, reducing negative impacts on human health and the environment. The reason for going green or adopting sustainable development practices is literally a no brainer, as a green building constructed using sustainable development practices provides many benefits both tangible and intangible, starting from the immediate cost savings in terms of energy and water consumption to a healthy and productive environment for work.

Some of the initiatives by construction companies are listed below: •ITC Green Centre is the world’s largest green building with space of 170,000 square feet, and also the first non-commercial complex in the country to be awarded the USGBC-LEED platinum rating – the highest in the order. •In collaboration with Canadian plastics major Nova Chemicals, Reliance Industries will be designing and constructing energy-efficient buildings in India. •India’s first internationally certified green building that houses the Confederation of Indian

Industry-Sohrabji Godrej Business Centre spread over 16,000 square feet was set up in Hyderabad in 2003. Today, the public and private construction companies in India have applied sustainable development practices prevalent in the industry to construct over 25 million square feet of registered green building expanse, which is all set to touch a 100 million square feet by 2010–12. Unsustainable development in the Energy sector Unsustainability can be defined as a practice or process that can’t go on indefinitely because it is destroying the very conditions on which it depends.

Agriculture development is at crossroads today. Despite an agricultural revolution in the developing world over the course of a single generation that has produced enormous benefits for farmers, consumers and economies, a number of second generation challenges in agricultural transformation have emerged. Issues such as disparities in agricultural growth, problem of food insecurity and decreasing diversity, plateauing productivity in certain crops, growing ecological imbalance and unsustainable agricultural practices have come to fore.

Ironically, a large proportion of the rural community continues to live in regions with poor quality soils and unpredictable rainfall, and remote from agricultural services and markets, deprived of the gains of agricultural revolution. “Water harvesting” is defined as the process of collecting and concentrating runoff water from a runoff area into a run-on area, where the collected water is either directly applied to the cropping area and stored in the soil profile for immediate use by the crop, i. e. runoff farming, or stored in an on-farm water reservoir for future productive uses, i. . domestic use, livestock watering, aquaculture irrigation. The collected water can also be used for groundwater recharge and storage into the aquifer, i. e. recharge enhancement. Source “FAO, 2003”. Rainfall failure occurs once every 3 to 5 years and is usually below 50% of the average annual rainfall of the region. During periods of rainfall failure, the groundwater level lowers since fluctuations in the water table levels depend on the rainfall when both surface and groundwater availability becomes critical.

Drought begins to prevail and there is a difficulty to cope up with the water demand during this period. Similarly, in some locations or areas water shortage is observed just before the rainy season commences. These two situations can be managed if suitable soil and moisture conservation measures are systematically implemented on a small watershed basis. Watershed development and management implies an integration of technologies within the natural boundary of a drainage area for optimum development of land, water and plant resources, to meet the people’s basic needs in a sustained manner.

A watershed is an area from which runoff resulting from precipitation flows past a single point into a large stream, river, lake or pond. Each watershed is an independent hydrological unit. It has become an acceptable unit of planning for optimum use and conservation of soil and water resources. The concept of integrated watershed development refers to the development and management of the resources in the watershed to achieve higher sustainable production without deterioration in the resource base and any ecological imbalances.

This concept requires the formulation and implementation of a package of programs with activities for optimum resource use in the watershed without adversely affecting the soil and water base or life supporting system. The concept assumes more importance in the context of planning for sustained development. Watershed development aims at preventing watershed degradation resulting from the interaction of physiographic features.

It eliminates unscientific land use, inappropriate cropping patterns and soil erosion, thereby improving and sustaining productivity of resources leading to higher income and living standards for the inhabitants in the watershed area. It, therefore, involves restoration of the ecosystem, protecting and utilizing the locally available resources within a watershed to achieve sustainable development. Water harvesting is a proven technology to increase food security in drought prone areas and helps to erosion control and recharge of ground water for future demand.

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