Sustainable Development


By the year 2200 there will be a lot more people living on this planet
then there are now. Estimates range anywhere from 15 to 36 billion people.
Where will these people live? How will they live? The answer is sustainable
development. Sustainable development, "meets the needs of the present without
compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. " It
also, "requires meeting the basic needs of all peoples and extending to them the
opportunity to fulfill their aspirations for a better life. A world in which
poverty is endemic will always be prone to ecological and other catastrophes."
Sustainable development is being ignored in Chile, the Philippines, and Siberia,
practiced in Madagascar and in Alaska, and examined in the Lake Baikal region of
Russia. These Countries must learn from each other\'s failures and success to
discover what sustainable development involves in their own country.
Sustainable development has three divisions, economic, environmental,
and social. If sustainability is to occur it must, meet these three divisions.
In Chile, none of these divisions is being met. Economically speaking, almost
40% of the population is poor and as a result many make a living directly from
the land clearing forests. In the IVth region of Chile, forest regions are
being depleted at an amazing rate. This depletion of the forest in this region
results in two main things, one, people must spend increasing amounts of energy
traveling to the site of present cutting and two, the removal of the trees over
time has lead to soil erosion and rapid desertification of the area. This soil
erosion also removes many nutrients from the soil making the land poor for
agriculture. The third division, social, is not met here either. The lack of
organizations to relieve the negative effects of poverty on the environment have
only contributed to the problem.
In the Philippines the environmental degradation is similar in nature
but more catastrophic in result. There in the province of Leyte 6000 people
were killed when flash flood ripped through Ormoc City in 1991. The floods
were a result of logging of a forest in that region and conversion of that area
into commercial farming practices such as sugarcane. This in itself did not
cause the floods, the conversion of the forest into farming left the heavy rain
from a typhoon with nowhere to go. Normally the forest would have stopped any
flash floods as it would have held the water let it out slowly, but with the
forests gone there was nothing to delay the water from exiting the system. The
economical effect of this that land and buildings were destroyed causing
millions of peso\'s worth of damage. The social impact is easy to discern, those
who lost loved ones, friends, and family can never get them back.
In Madagascar the same type of thing was happening. Locals were cutting
down the forest and planting rice and cassava. It was estimated that this
process of deforestation was costing the country between, "100 and 300 million a
year in decreased crop yields, the loss of productive forests and damage to
infrastructure." Something needed to be done, the government implemented a
plan to, "protect and improve the environment while working for sustainable
development."
The approach integrates all aspects of sustainable development.
Socially, a public education programme explains why locals shouldn\'t cut down
the tree\'s and why it is economically more important that they don\'t.
Environmentally, the forests will not be lost now. And economically some
cutting is still down however it is sustainable cutting. New jobs were also
created in this program. In order to persuade villagers that this was the best
route to take, half of all fees paid by tourists to enter the parks within which
the forests are, go directly to development projects for the community. They go
to the community because of the "positive correlation between prosperity and
environmental quality. This means that the more prosperous you are the more
you can afford to clean up the environment. A poor country like Madagascar
could not possibly invest as much capital as Canada could into the reduction of
Air pollution or the clean up of contaminants in soil.
In the Russian north all aspects of sustainability were ignored. There
in part of Siberia that stretches from the Ural Mountains in the west to the
Novosibirsk in the south, [see appendix one, fig one] the environmental and
social divisions of sustainable development were ignored for the economical.
This region produces 78% of Russia\'s oil and 84% of it\'s natural gas. It also
happens to be rich in fish and reindeer, the principle resources