07 March 2012

The various E's in Sustainable Development

Thinking about sustainable development and connecting the dots, I came to realise how important the letter 'E' is when it comes to describing solutions and research in the development sector.

It starts with Education from a young age, schools and institutions are pillars in shaping young interests and hearts, terms such as environment education, conservation begin at this stage to leave an impression of the natural world. Nature walks, excursions bring alive the bee's and butterflies stories and remain in memory.  Movies like 'Jungle Book' and 'Finding Nemo' are crucial in teaching the next generation, using forests and animals help them connect and identify with the natural world. As they grow older, projects, photography, identifying key animal species continue, One of the most important introductions at this stage is teaching individuals about the many shortcomings in the country, visiting villages and slums, reaching out to the poor and less privileged in an effort to bridge this enormous gap.

Employment at a young adult stage is a big transition; more responsibilities newer interests and higher stress is involved. Calculating carbon footprint at this stage is an important step to sustainable living with most working professionals who opt for private vehicles instead of public transport. Delhi's metro success provided a big solution for reducing carbon emissions. This success has encouraged other cities to develop metro's, like Bangalore starting its metro. Energy efficiency can start at home and slowly spread in work places with of course all individuals being aware of energy use, expense. We begin learning to switch off - like Earth Hour once a year reminds us that conserving energy is an important factor to consider and keep us aware and alert on the stress we put on our resources. Earth Day is another yearly alert that we have one planet and one home to protect, educating those who haven't yet turned around, to be green  and economise better.

Empowering and Emancipation of women is a social issue taking up precedence in the world. Wangari Maathai showed the world what one person can do through her work and actions, how women can lead sustainable livelihoods in Africa and empowering rural women to take action in a male dominated society. She received accolades for her sustainable methods and paved the road for women leaders in one of the poorest countries in the world.

Equality and Equity is another step towards sustainable development. The Millennium Development Goals by the UN show that more than 1 billion people go hungry, more than 2 billion live on less than $1 a day. There is a dangerous difference between the rich & privileged and the rest of the world. Efforts are being made a large scale basis to overcome the 8 goals, growing populations and more people coming into the bracket of poverty only makes this challenge bigger. One of their most recent success stories is the availability of water in poor and developing countries.

If you string all the letters with 'E' you get: Education, Employment, Empowering, Energy Efficiency, Equality, Earth.

- By Kavya Chandra