Why “Sustainability and Well-being” ?


Much attention is being given to “Sustainable Development” and the “Sustainable Development Goals” (SDGs).

Why does SW focus on “Sustainability and Well-being”?

The ultimate goals of ‘sustainable development’ are:

  • to ensure that human activities are sustainable
  • to ensure that communities everywhere enjoy the highest possible levels of well-being .

In that framework, economic activities – such as industrial production and trade (which are included as goals in the SDGs) – are best regarded as means to achieving the end of human well-being rather than being ends in themselves.

Shortly after ‘sustainability’ was recognized as being a critical issue in the 1970s, the concept of ‘sustainable development’ emerged. Already at that time, the term was contested by some people and institutions on the grounds that the word ‘development’ was widely interpreted as meaning ‘economic development’, ignoring social and environmental aspirations and concerns.

So, Sustainability.World addresses sustainable development and the SDGs through the lens of the ultimate goals – sustainability and well-being – focussing on People and The Planet while identifying and addressing the many ‘underlying’ issues that influence the well-being of people and the planet, and the possibilities of achieving the directly-related SDGs.

This approach is also consistent with the principles of the Earth Charter established in 2000 and endorsed by organizations representing millions of people worldwide.

 

The Earth Charter defines four pillars and sixteen principles:

I. Respect and Care for the Community of Life

  1. 1.  Respect Earth and life in all its diversity.
  2. 2.  Care for the community of life with understanding, compassion and love.
  3. 3.  Build democratic societies that are just, participatory, sustainable and peaceful.
  4. 4.  Secure Earth's bounty and beauty for present and future generations.

 

II. Ecological Integrity

  1. 5.  Protect and restore the integrity of Earth's ecological systems, with special concern for biological diversity and the natural processes that sustain life.
  2. 6.  Prevent harm as the best method of environmental protection and, when knowledge is limited, apply a precautionary approach.
  3. 7.  Adopt patterns of production, consumption and reproduction that safeguard Earth's regenerative capacities, human rights and community well-being.
  4. 8.  Advance the study of ecological sustainability and promote the open exchange and wide application of the knowledge acquired.

 

III. Social and Economic Justice

  1. 9.  Eradicate poverty as an ethical, social and environmental imperative.
  2. 10. Ensure that economic activities and institutions at all levels promote human development in an equitable and sustainable manner.
  3. 11. Affirm gender equality and equity as prerequisites to sustainable development and ensure universal access to education, health care and economic opportunity.
  4. 12. Uphold the right of all, without discrimination, to a natural and social environment supportive of human dignity, bodily health and spiritual well-being, with special attention to the rights of indigenous peoples and minorities.

 

IV. Democracy, Nonviolence, and Peace

  1. 13. Strengthen democratic institutions at all levels, and provide transparency and accountability in governance, inclusive participation in decision-making, and access to justice.
  2. 14. Integrate into formal education and lifelong learning the knowledge, values and skills needed for a sustainable way of life.
  3. 15. Treat all living beings with respect and consideration.
  4. 16. Promote a culture of tolerance, non-violence and peace.

 

The full text is here.  Find more background here.

'Well-being' includes social and psychological as well as material well-being. It requires that everyone benefits from a fair share of what nature provides and the outputs of human economic activities.

'Sustainable' means that activities do not exhaust or unduly diminish natural resources or damage the environment to the detriment of future generations.

'Sustainable' means that activities do not exhaust or unduly diminish natural resources or damage the environment to the detriment of future generations.

'Well-being' includes social and psychological as well as material well-being. It requires that everyone benefits from a fair share of what nature provides and the outputs of human economic activities.

The Earth Charter defines four pillars and sixteen principles:

I. Respect and Care for the Community of Life

  1. 1.  Respect Earth and life in all its diversity.
  2. 2.  Care for the community of life with understanding, compassion and love.
  3. 3.  Build democratic societies that are just, participatory, sustainable and peaceful.
  4. 4.  Secure Earth's bounty and beauty for present and future generations.

 

II. Ecological Integrity

  1. 5.  Protect and restore the integrity of Earth's ecological systems, with special concern for biological diversity and the natural processes that sustain life.
  2. 6.  Prevent harm as the best method of environmental protection and, when knowledge is limited, apply a precautionary approach.
  3. 7.  Adopt patterns of production, consumption and reproduction that safeguard Earth's regenerative capacities, human rights and community well-being.
  4. 8.  Advance the study of ecological sustainability and promote the open exchange and wide application of the knowledge acquired.

 

III. Social and Economic Justice

  1. 9.  Eradicate poverty as an ethical, social and environmental imperative.
  2. 10. Ensure that economic activities and institutions at all levels promote human development in an equitable and sustainable manner.
  3. 11. Affirm gender equality and equity as prerequisites to sustainable development and ensure universal access to education, health care and economic opportunity.
  4. 12. Uphold the right of all, without discrimination, to a natural and social environment supportive of human dignity, bodily health and spiritual well-being, with special attention to the rights of indigenous peoples and minorities.

 

IV. Democracy, Nonviolence, and Peace

  1. 13. Strengthen democratic institutions at all levels, and provide transparency and accountability in governance, inclusive participation in decision-making, and access to justice.
  2. 14. Integrate into formal education and lifelong learning the knowledge, values and skills needed for a sustainable way of life.
  3. 15. Treat all living beings with respect and consideration.
  4. 16. Promote a culture of tolerance, non-violence and peace.

 

The full text is here.  Find more background here.