Sustainable Development: Human Welfare? Essay Example

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Essay

Sustainable development has become a difficult proposition with the increase in population growth and demand for resources. Some people think that it can be done while others feel that it can work only if either population or demand for resources is reduced. In this essay, I respond to the taking sides 2005 question, “Is sustainable development compatible with human welfare” by reviewing both sides to the debate. My essay begins by summarizing the argument for sustainable development being compatible with human welfare as per the “European dream: Building sustainable development in globally connected world” and then I review the “con” argument emanating from “wilting Greens” and finally I conclude with my own perspective on the issue.

Jeremy Rifkin argues for sustainable development as being compatible with human welfare basing on the European dream. The European dream emphasizes on the quality of life of its citizen. For this quality to be realized, the economic trends focus on sustainable development to maintain the desired quality of life even into the future. As per the environmental magazine (2005, pg. 34-39) eight out of ten Europeans who were asked what they believed was the most important legacy of 20th century said that they were happy with the quality of life putting it second after freedom in a list of 11 legacies. This dream focuses on the quality of life in a universal manner and not individually (Jeremy, 2005)..  The dream further focuses on diversity, sustainable development, social rights and universal human rights. In addition, it works better for the people’s welfare despite the fact that sustainable development hinders economic growth. In May 2003, the EU proposed a regulatory law over the chemical industries to control and mitigate toxic impacts to the environment human and animal health. The emergency of GMOs was strongly resisted by farmers, environmentalists and consumers to safeguard their health and maintain the quality of life because of the health hazards associated with the consumption of such like foods. The protests made the government to impose a defector moratorium on the planting of GE crops and sale of GE food products to consumers. As per Jeremy Rifkin sustainable development is compatible with human welfare since it improves the quality of life of the citizens (Jeremy, 2005).

Ronald Bailey on the other hand argues convincingly against sustainable development as being compatible with human welfare. According to Ronald, sustainable development results in economic stagnation threatening both the poor and the environment. The argument rests upon the fact that it is not possible to eradicate poverty and preserve the environment while limiting economic growth (Ronald bailey, 2002). He argues that economic growth is fundamental in eradicating poverty, and the best was to preserve the environment. Poverty cannot allow people to worry about improving outdoor air quality as well as be conscious of the environment protection. Sustainable development is criticized further as one, which is old versioned and limits growth. The radical green Heinrich boll foundation summed the issue of sustainable development at the jo’burg memo this way “poverty alleviation cannot be separated from wealth alleviation.” The greens argues that around 1.1 billion people lack safe drinking water, 2.2 billion lack adequate sanitation,11 million children dies in third world countries from preventable diseases, and 800 million people are malnutrition despite the fact that there is abundance of food globally. Eradication of poverty is a clear method of preventing environmental degradation since a hungry human being is more environmentally destructive (Jeremy, 2005).

From my perspective, both claims are flawed. First sustainable development intends to improve the quality of life, protect the environment and eradicate poverty and neither of the above claims supports this fact. The proponents of sustainable development argue emphasizes one aspect of sustainable development that is environmental protection presently and in the future while they close the doors to the increased demand for resources due to population growth. Jacqueline Kasun( 1999) warns that it is evident that population continues to grow every year and this puts pressure of the demand for resources which are limited thus, maintain affirm stand on sustainable development as per its definition without opening avenues for addressing the mounting pressure is only furthering environmental degradation . On the other hand, arguing that sustainable development is incompatible with human welfare is to err. This is solely because sustainability promotes good health and protects the environment facts that work for human welfare. Finally, besides poverty eradication and economic growth people must be conscious of environmental protection for without protection of the environment, both economic growth and poverty eradication might not be achieved and this will affect human welfare negatively.

In conclusion, a balance ought to exist between the radical greens and environmentalists so that sustainable development may be beneficial to humanity. Sustainable development should not hinder economic growth or poverty eradication; as well, it should not compromise environmental safety.

Cited works

Jeremy Rifkin, “The European Dream: Building Sustainable Development in Globally    Connected World,” E Magazine 2005.

Jacqueline Kasun, “Doomsday Every Day”: Sustainable Economics, sustainable Tyranny,” The Independent Review, 1999.

Lester R. Brown, “Picking up the Tabs,” USA Today Magazine,  2007.

Ronald bailey, “Wilting Greens,” Reason, 2002.

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