Principles of sustainable development
Economic development is sought by societies not only to satisfy basic material needs, but also to provide the resources to improve the quality of life in other directions, meeting the demand for health care, education and a good environment. Many forms of economic development make demands upon the environment; they use natural resources which are sometimes in limited supply, and generate by-products of pollution and waste.
But there are also many ways in which the right kind of economic activity can protect or enhance the environment. These include energy efficiency measures, improved technology and techniques of management, better product design and marketing, waste minimization, environmentally friendly farming practices, making better use of land and buildings, and improved transport efficiency. The challenge of sustainable development is to promote ways of encouraging this kind of environmentally friendly economic activity, and of discouraging environmentally damaging activities.
HERE for Government reports related to Sustainable Farming and
Caring for the environment
There are several different reasons for caring about environmental quality:
Historically, in the UK and elsewhere, the motivation for much of the early
environmental legislation was concern for the protection of health. That led to
measures to curb air pollution, provide clean water, and minimise risks from
waste disposal. Many of the major, obvious causes for concern about public health have largely been eradicated in the UK, but health must always remain a
fundamental consideration. Acute health incidents as a result of pollution are
now comparatively rare, and public concerns centre more on issues where cause and effect are harder to prove or disprove. For example, it is not easy to
assess the possible effects on health of long-term exposure to low levels of
pollutants, and extensive studies may be needed in such cases to establish what
the dangers are.
Nature Reserve created on previously 'derelict' land
A second concern is to conserve those common natural resources that have an economic value and which are in finite, or potentially finite, supply. These include land itself, stocks of fish in the sea, and the diversity of species that potentially offers opportunities for research and development.
Even where there are no market transactions involved, people value aspects of the environment; landscape, wildlife and habitats, and some of the built heritage for their own sake and wish, so far as possible, to pass them on to later generations.
In the present age, these concerns have broadened beyond people’s immediate environment to global issues, such as protection of the stratospheric ozone layer and the world’s climate. With issues such as these, far more is at stake than health or aesthetic interests alone.
CLICK HERE for Sustainable development in the United Kingdom on the Defra website.
CLICK HERE for Sustainable Development Timeline. Choose a year and subject. i.e.. 1997, key publications, follow hyperlinks to areas of interest and statistics, i.e. population growth or changes in weather patterns
Pause for thought........list 4 ways in which the implementation of sustainable development policies may impact on the future of agriculture.
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