What is development?
- From birth to death – physical development
- From poor to rich – economic development
- From dictatorship to democracy – political development
- From sexual abuse to sexual equality – social development
- From fossil fuels to renewable energy – environmental development
- A future for us AND our children – SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Click here for the United Nations Millenium Development Goals
There is little challenge to the recognition that foreign aid has not alleviated much of the poverty faced by the developing world, particularly in Africa. The fall of the USSR has seen capitalism sweep the world as the dominant mechanism for development. Economic development, therefore, has been viewed as the best way to improve a country. The growing middle-class in Malawi is testament to its success. Many Africans are now enjoying a material wealth unimaginable a generation ago.
Unfortunately, there’s a problem. A pretty big problem that requires everyone’s immediate attention…
Unfair trade agreements leaves many of the poor worse off, whilst they work increasingly hard to sell off their natural resources to wealthier countries. This has horrendous consequences for the environment and the people. Growing populations puts even more pressure on what finite resources are left. Western wants and Asia’s booming economies puts more demand on the land, meaning international trade in cash crops such as tobacco are favoured over growing local food for local people.
The gargantuan demand for energy means a rush to coal and nuclear power. It is hard for those with the quality of life generated by those same technologies to challenge the developing countries’ demands to join them. The problems of climate change, however, are most keenly felt in agricultural countries, like Malawi, that can no longer predict weather patterns for crops such as maize and ground nut.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT – A SOLUTION
Trade and foreign investment bring undoubted improvements. But the economic polarisation (rich richer, poor poorer) gripping countries struggling with debts, dwindling resources and crippling diseases such as HIV/AIDS are forcing us to reconsider the way we plan our future on planet Earth.
Globalisation is creating a ‘global civil society’ and it is this creation that Build A School wishes to harness for the benefit of developing world citizens in the 21st century. Long term, diffusion of a broad spectrum of ideas and knowledge will be shared via improving technologies that are creeping into previously uncharted territories.
If an unsustainable lifestyle is becoming viewed as selfish, we must also realise that a sustainable lifestyle actually serves self-interest. The leading voice on finding solutions to poverty, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, wrote, “Health for all is not only the moral imperative it was at the launch of the World Health Organisation 60 years ago, it is also the best practical bargain on the planet.” The competitive nature of trade requires a more cooperative perspective.
Build A School will work tirelessly to provide sustainable development education. We can still develop today, without wrecking tomorrow. It starts now.
FACT SHEETS BY ASITHA JAYAWARDENA (BSc Eng, MPhil)
Want to know more about the issues we face in changing the way we live?
Asitha has produced 10 fact sheets to provide information and ideas about the challenges our planet must get to grips with- soon!! Asitha’s work has been published around the world and has provided Build A School with some academic fact sheets for you to learn more about why sustainable development matters. Disseminating free sustainable development knowledge is the key to creating the innovation and conviction needed to implement real change.
Contact Asitha at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read the fact sheets here: Fact Sheets about sustainable development