Sustainable Development: A Crucial Challenge For The Future
Albert Einstein once said that, in order for mankind to survive, people should develop a substantially new manner of thinking. For decades since, world leaders have seeked this ?new manner of thinking? until finally they came up with a viable answer?sustainable development.
Sustainable development is a strategy by which communities seek economic development approaches that also benefit the local environment and quality of life. Where traditional approaches can lead to congestion, sprawl, pollution and resource over-consumption, sustainable development offers real, lasting solutions that will strengthen the future.
More simply put, sustainable development provides a framework under which communities can use resources efficiently, create efficient infrastructures, protect and enhance quality of life, and create new businesses to strengthen their economies. It can help create healthy communities that can sustain this generation, as well as those of the future.
Communities of the future will be very different from the communities of today. They?re different because of a whole new set of socio-economic, technological, and global forces. Prime movers will need to understand such forces, and only by applying this understanding can communities be sustained and benefit from an increasingly complex future.
While sustainability has its roots in the environmental traditions of the past, it is also greatly influenced by forces unique to this decade. These forces include limited resources, urbanization, scientific knowledge, technology, social awareness, and health & safety requirements. All of these should be acknowledged for their impact on and potential opportunities for the community. Properly harnessed, these forces can play important roles in achieving the goals of sustainable development.
Benefits of sustainable development
Sustainable development is good business from social, economic, and environmental perspectives. When tied to a community's vision, it can successfully resolve many key issues faced by communities today. Within the context of the existing environment, sustainable development is especially effective in a tangible way.
Take the numerous sustainable development programs of Shell Philippines Exploration BV (SPEX) for example. Through Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc. (PSFI), SPEX has initiated various programs to uplift economic, social and environmental conditions in the locales where it operates. For its Malampaya Deep Water Gas to Power project, SPEX took all three factors into consideration prior to making important business decisions. This tedious process eventually won one for SPEX a place among the ten coveted citations from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
SPEX? initiatives that merited the United Nations award are the Malampaya project, which in itself is an economically sound project that creates job opportunities and attracts foreign investors; youth empowerment programs like Sanayan sa Kakayahang Agrikultura (SAKA), a program for out-of-school-youths and Sanayan sa Kakayahang Industriyal (SKIL), a one-year course on various industrial skills geared towards long-term employment; environmental preservation programs like the Mindoro Biodiversity Conservation Program, Malampaya Sound Ecological Study Program and Subic Bay Bat Habitat Restoration Program; and health-inclined initiatives like the Kilusan Ligtas Malaria and sharing well-equipped health facilities with the community.
All these sustainable development programs place a high value on the quality of life and infuse technology with purpose. They optimize key resources, including human resources, and are responsive and proactive. Whether by mitigating natural hazards, preventing crime, or attracting economic development, SPEX? programs do not simply react to circumstances or events but take action to prevent threats to community well-being and to maximize good opportunities to preserve the Philippine heritage.
**The Malampaya Deep Water Gas-to-Power project represents the largest and most significant industrial investment in the history of the Philippines. It heralds the birth of the country?s natural gas industry that will enable the supply of clean, environment-friendly fuel slated to provide 2,700 megawatts of power to Luzon for a period of 20 years. This meets 30% of Luzon?s power generation requirements. Malampaya paves the way for high economic benefits to the Philippines, providing the country a considerably long-term revenue stream of approximately US$8-10 billion to the government over the life of the project, in addition to foreign exchange savings of the same magnitude.
About the Author: Karla Gae L. Pascua is a senior copywriter at one of Philippine's leading public relations agencies. Pascua has been writing professionally for over a decade, seven years of which were under the stewardship of the industry's acknowledged father of public relations, former UST professor, and journalism textbook author, Charlie Agatep.