Essay on Is Sustainable Development Achievable?

Published: 2021/11/15
Number of words: 3399


Sustainable development is progress that is aimed at meeting the needs of the present without compromising the position of the future generations to achieve their needs. There are three major pillars of sustainable development, including the environment, economy, and social obligations that are shared communally. There is a need to examine the concept of sustainability critically to improvise appropriate strategies to drive environmental agenda. Sustainable development is dependent on some aspects that include resources available, policy implementation, human activities, and climate of a region, among others. The environment is vital towards achieving sustainable development on a global platform. Sustainability incorporates the concepts of gender inequality, wealth distribution, depletion of natural resources and combating diseases, among others. There is a need to understand the role that factors within the environment play towards the achieving sustainable development. Social life is part of development that can drive environmental agenda on a global front. Some factors cause climate changes that affect sustainable development. Increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have contributed to increased heat in the atmosphere, which has led to climate change through global warming. Human activities are a contributor to the far much-experienced climate change. Activities that affect the environment adversely include mining, farming, clearing of forests for settlement, and deforestation, among others. Sustainable development is not readily achievable due to the technicalities that are involved, including inadequate resources, gender inequalities, and corruption. It is critical to seek an understanding of the concept of sustainability and approaches that can drive an economy for long enough. A sustainable strategy for environmental conservation aims to protect water catchment areas, biodiversity, and reduce pollution. Developing countries are the most affected lot in the struggle to achieve sustainability in their development projects. Countries such as the UK, are leading in the campaign to conserve the environment for sustainability. Future generations will require the comfort of the environment, making it a necessity to establish a sustainable development strategy. The health of a population is essential to the achievement of sustainable development in any given economy. Ensuring good population health boosts economic development for prosperity(Middleton, 2013). Ignoring the call to ensure sustainable development might attract dire consequences, especially for generations to come. The report aims to examine whether sustainable development is achievable, given the current circumstances.

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Goals of Sustainable Development

The first goal of sustainable development is to end poverty that is dragging many economies behind. The intention to end poverty is ambitious and achievable if only the right strategies are put in place. Ending poverty means that the quality of life within the society has improved to a large extent. Second, sustainable development aims to end hunger that has claimed many lives of the poor in the community. Food security is part of the sustainable development agenda that need to be addressed before matters get worse. According to the goal, nutrition should be improved, and sustainable agriculture embraced. Sustainability can be achieved if policies are implemented to look into the needs of the undernourished groupsand create more opportunities for farmers. Agriculture forms the basis for the achievement of food security, which seems unachievable (Corbett & Mellouli, 2017). Third, sustainable development aims to ensure the society is healthy and that it promotes the well-being of the whole community at all times. Innovation is the prerequisite to the development of new technology that is impacting all sectors and operations geared towards growth. Fourth, sustainable development is meant to ensure equitable quality education that is inclusive of all regardless of gender, age, political affiliation, or race. Technology can help transform the education agenda all over the world.

The fifth goal of sustainable development is to achieve gender equality and empower the girl child. For a long time, the girl child has been stereotyped from taking part in some social responsibilities, which were presumably meant for men only. The rise of feminist activists has helped change the notion to what can be termed as empowering women. The girl child can receive education in most communities in the world and can hold a position in leadership. For instance, women in Saudi Arabia were not allowed to drive by themselves regardless of the situation. The policy later changed to allow women to drive cars in the country in the year 2013. This is an example of stereotyping that has left women behind in most fronts of economic development. Institutions in any country should function to provide level grounds for both the girl and boy child. Sixth, sustainable development should work to ensure water availability and proper sanitation. Water is essential for the survival of human beings and biodiversity that exists in the surrounding. As such, ensuring water availability is a step towards the achievement of the set sustainable development goals.

Energy sustainability is an essential factor within any economy that has a sense of direction. There is a need to ensure that people within the society have access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy for all. With the technology available, the challenge of improvising better and sustainable options for energy is the immense capital required. The next goal of sustainable development is to promote sustained and inclusive economic growth, with low levels of unemployment. A nation that works can easily achieve sustainable development as each works to ensure productivity increases. In addition, the goals of development require that a country establishes resilient infrastructure, sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation. Sustainable industrialization will create jobs for the society and ensure that provision of goods that are manufactured in the industries reach the market on time. Such operations can be facilitated by establishing a reputable infrastructure to support economic activities. Another crucial goal set is to ensure that inequalities within and among countries is reduced. Inequality in income distribution is high, especially within developing nations. Also, there is notable inequality among developing nations and developed nations, which shows that something needs to be done to reduce the ever-rising gap. Improved standards of living for people within the society are essential towards the achievement of sustainable development. Better living standards for an individual means that the economy is changing to accommodate globalization.Globalization is a significant contributor to development across many countries and communities.

Sustainable development seeks to promote sustainableconsumption and production patterns. A thorough consumer analysis should be conducted to determine appropriate approaches to achievingsustainable production and consumption patterns. An important goal incorporated in the objectives for sustainable development is combating climate change. Climate change has always impacted efforts to improve economic growth and achieve environmental sustainability (Ostrom, 1990). Controlling climate change can help promote sustainability for prosperity in the future. Equally, oceans should be conserved and sustainably used to avoid their extinction, which can be dangerous to the hydrological cycle. Sustainable development should aim to promote peace and provide justice for all in an equal measure. A community that co-exists peacefully can push the development agenda in the society for decades. The means of implementation within the society should be strengthenedto ensure that policies are followed to the latter, and in-adherence is punished. Failure to comply with the set regulations within the society should attract heavy legal penalties in a bid to ensure sustainability. The success that a policy can have on the subjects depends on the implantation approach that was used. Weak implementation can only hurt the economy as adherence to set policies is compromised. Conformity is an essential aspect that stakeholders should take into consideration as any misunderstanding can attract litigation. Besides, global partnerships must revitalize to promote sustainability in every aspect.Global partnerships can help institutions establish sustainable development programs, which arevital for economic growth and progress.

Argument on Achieving Sustainable Growth

Achieving sustainable growth and development is a matter that has drawn attention from many experts, including government institutions. Achieving the set goals of sustainable development might be difficult due to several factors that challenge the realization of economic growth.The challenges that are against achieving sustainable development include poverty, natural occurrences such as Tsunamis, human activities, conflict of interest, lack of effort, war and violence, social inequalities, climate change, and corruption, among others (Richardson, Steffen &Liverman, 2011). A critical analysis of the listed challenges is essential in devising strategies that promote sustainable development.

Poverty in many nations has led to derailed economic development, which is essential for sustainability. Countries, especially those that are developing, are finding it hard to raise funds that are required to spearhead development programs in their territories (Dresner, 2012). Equally, those countries that have funds to build their economy are pressured as the resources are inadequate to help achieve sustainability. Most developing countries rely on loans and foreign aid to fund their developmental projects, which risks their position in the diplomatic world. A nation that has low levels of poverty can progress well economically than countries that have no means of eliminating poverty. Poor people in a population might be less productive as compared to a nation where poverty is low. Poverty is characterized by low standards of living with no resources for education and medication. In a poor state, an individual cannot afford that is an essential need for the human body. As such, poverty is a challenge that is hard to tackle in the fight to achieve sustainable development.

Natural occurrences serve as a significant challenge to nations achieving sustainable development. Examples of natural phenomena that affect development in an economy include earthquakes, tsunamis, and flooding, among others. For instance, flooding causes shifts in water flow, which leads to the destruction of infrastructure that is important. Replacing or refurbishing the destroyed infrastructure can cost the government unexpectedly. Natural occurrences might not be avoided in the contemporary society, and it is only fair that a contingency plan is in place for mitigation. Also, the depletion of natural resources that contribute to sustainable development has curtailed efforts to ensure growth (Castree& Braun, 2001). Natural resources such as minerals get depleted once they are extracted, which poses a challenge to environmental sustainability. Examples of infrastructure destroyed might include roads, bridges, buildings, vehicles, and communication lines. Areas that are affected by occurrences such as tsunamis and tornadoes always suffer as infrastructure is destroyed.

A conflict of interest between immediate profits and investment towards sustainable technologies is a significant problem for the government. The government has the power to implement strategies that can lead to sustainable development. An immediate profit is focusedon ensuring that the government meets its needs presently, ignoring the impact the move might have on future generations. Governments that make investments towards sustainable technologies can be innovative enough to improvise better approaches. As such, the government becomes tornbetween immediate profit and sustainability. A situation of similar circumstances is a challenging barrier to the achievement of sustainable development. Such challenges should be handled ethically to spearhead development projects (Adams, 2008). For instance, if a government chooses immediate profits, there is likelihood that sustainability will be only theoretical and not real. The fact that the government has a conflict in deciding the approach to use in its operations indicates how sustainable development is hard to achieve.

Lack of efforts from relevant authoritiesto promote sustainable development from a municipal level to an international level forms a basis for failure to achieve sustainable development. Most of the policies devised are formulated on a national or international platform, which limits the chances of local communities to take part (Adger& Jordan, 2009). Municipal officers should act as ambassadors of sustainable development in society. If local authorities support sustainable development, policies can be deliberated on to ensure compliance. It is a collective responsibility that manyhave failed to observe in their daily lives.After the implementation of various policies on matters sustainability, the local authorities should make a follow-up and deliver feedback on the same to a higher authority. Combined efforts by all stakeholders can see the challenge handled decently. Lack of efforts from local authorities to support initiatives on development makes sustainability unachievable in reality.

War and violence have derailed economic progression and sustainable development in many regions of the world. An example is a civil war that left the southerners in a worse economic state since development could not occur during war. Insecurity and violence that are exhibited during a war cannot allow room for progress as individuals focus more on their security. Notably, nations that do not experience war are likely to achieve sustainable development as compared to states that have internal and external conflicts. Peace is a crucial prerequisite for economic growth. As such, nations should ensure that their territories are secure, and domestic issues are resolved for mutual co-existence, which promotes sustainable development. War should be avoided and the time allocated to economic activities that can impact development. Equally, after a war, a country or community takes time to recover and resume operations as usual. Nations that maintain peace make big strides in development, widening the inequality gap between two states, one at peace and one in war.

Human activities within the environment canbe a challenge to the achievement of sustainable development. Activities such as mining leave a land that is degraded and less useful to the society. Equally, clearing of forests for settlement is threatening the existence of trees and water catchment areas. As such, human activities play a critical role in affecting parameters that alter development within society (Spaiser, Ranganathan, Swain & Sumpter, 2017). Increased industrial activities have threatened the survival of biodiversity, which is sometimes used as a raw material in the industries. Loss of biodiversity can lead to a consequential reduction in the number of foreigners visiting as tourists in a country. This reduces collected revenue that can be used to develop other sectors of the economy, ensuring sustainability. Humanbeings should monitor their activities in a bid to ensure sustainable development in society (Peet, Robbins & Watts, 2010). Human activities have paralyzed the efforts in place to achieve sustainability in growth and development.

Social inequalities in the economy derail sustainable development achievement. For instance, disparities in income distribution continue widening despite concerns that are raised by developmental goals. Such inequalities in an economy pose a threat as people regroup into social classes, which are not development-oriented (Carley & Christie, 2017). A comparison between developed nations and developing counties shows that such inequalities result in failure to achieve sustainable development. One of the goals of sustainable development is to reduce disparities among and within nations. Also, literacy levels are higher in developed countries as compared to nations that are still developing. The inequality in literacy gives developed nations an upper-hand in achieving sustainable development, unlike developing nations, which have high levels of illiteracy. The difference in literacy skills widens the gap between literacy skills in developed nations versus developing countries. Such inequalities work against the achievement of sustainable development, which makes it almost impossible to achieve (Holden, Linnerud, Banister, Schwanitz & Wierling, 2017).

Pollution is a factor that affects sustainable development globally. For instance, air pollution can lead to increased greenhouse gases that result in global warming (Jolink & Niesten, 2015). Sustainability cannot be achievedif toxic substances are released to the atmosphere without treatment. Such gases lead to climate change, which is a significant barrier to sustainable development. Pollution of water bodies might result in diseases for some individuals and organisms that depend on the surrounding. Waste management is a critical approach that can help sustainable development. Poor waste management strategies cannot drive the agenda to achieve sustainability in the economy. The environment is vital for survival, and there is a need keenly conserve it for future generations (Mah& Wang, 2019). The needs of today should not be the basis for actions without assessing potential implications in the future. Instead, the urge to achieve sustainability should be the driving force towards proper waste management in the society.

Corruption has crippled the efforts of many nations achieving sustainable development, especially among the developing countries. Corruption denies the public a chance to enjoy projects that have been financed by taxpayers. Funding to developing countries is done through grant funding, which leaders misappropriate derailing economic development. Equally, corruption denies the public accountability rights to projects funded by grants. Corruption and embezzlement of funds are enemies of progress in developing nations as the funds are used for personal gains. Nations that have low corruption levels have a chance of developing sustainably, unlike an economy infested with the vice. The funds that are embezzled can be applied elsewhere in the economy to realize growth.

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Climate changes have, for a long time, affected development activities to a large extent. The climate of a particular region can change as a result of high temperatures, global warming, human activities, and changes in the sea level, among others (Costanza, Fioramonti & Kubiszewski, 2016). For instance, when drought strikes a particular region, plants do not have water that is essential for growth. Food crops can be destroyed, which worsens the food security situation. Also, flooding sweeps crops on the farm, making it difficult to achieve sustainability in agriculture (Brooks, Grist & Brown, 2009). Climate changes affect seasons for planting and harvesting of food crops. Such alternations in the economy can threaten food security, which is a prerequisite for sustainable economic development. Climatic changes have failed to contribute towards growth and development that is sustainable.


To sum it up, sustainable development is a phenomenon that implies meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations meeting their needs. Some of the sustainable development goals include ending poverty, ensuring sustainable agriculture, ensuring food security, fostering peace, and environmental conservation, among others. Achieving sustainable development in any economy is not easy, as it requires commitment and proper planning. However, it is important to note that sustainable development may not be achievable any time soon. Challenges that have threatened the achievement of sustainable development include poverty and inadequate funds to pull projects, natural occurrences, human activities, conflict of interest, and lack of efforts from local authorities, war and violence, social inequalities, and corruption. Equally, pollution tampers with the environment that is useful for the existence of organisms. Corruption is the most significant factor that has derailed sustainable development in most developing countries. There is an urgent need to address the challenges that are circumventing the achievement of sustainable development globally.


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