8 Feb 2012

Tread Lightly - Samuel Duru

Sustainable development is a model of resource use that will satisfy present human needs while also preserving the planet Earth for the benefit of the future generations. The World Commission on Environment and Development articulated what has now become a widely accepted definition of sustainability:to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Sadly, human needs are being met in our age with little or no regard for the unborn generations.
You may wonder why so much emphasis on sustainable development. The official climate negotiations are not advancing as quickly as the damage we are doing to our Planet, and it is our future that is at risk. As youth, we apparently have lots of dreams to achieve, and we don’t want our green habitat to scorch before our very eyes. We are well aware that the changes in the balance of nature portend grave threat to the security of our shared future. The volatile economic climate continues to define the environment in which we work––and we know it. The planetary ecosystems are failing––and we know it. Hundreds of millions of young people will look for jobs in the coming decades––and we know it. Yet, we as a society pay lip service to the quest for environmental sustainability and sustainable development.

Interestingly though, young people are less locked in the current ways of doing things. We haven’t spent decades living monotonously – we are firing on all cylinders to change the status quo. In fact, it is absolutely exciting! This could be buttressed by the enthusiasm students and youth alike have injected into the NAYD. We represent new ways of looking at the world, things that the older generation could not notice because they’re just used to the way that “things are.” Since the way that “things are” is melting the ice caps and the glaciers, acidifying the oceans – spreading drought, flood and landslides across the earth – liquidating businesses and making people redundant across the globe, it’s a good thing that we are fashioning out new approaches and solutions through impact projects.

And a more brilliant thing is that we are approaching this work with both the fun that creativity requires and the seriousness that our Planet needs. We are not, in my experience, in the midst of a cultural rebellion, thinking mostly about self-expression – maybe much of that work got done in the ‘60s, with the last wave of youthful passion. On the contrary, we are thinking very solidly about a sustainable future – and we are working together.

Nevertheless, it is pertinent to note that only a decisive and staunch commitment by all and sundry will effectively ensure sustainable development. Sustainable development must grow in the economic, social and environmental spheres; in every nook and cranny of the world. And fundamental lifestyle adjustments are required for this to take place.

Although behaviour change is said to be the Holy Grail of sustainability, it’s in our best interest to change for good. By so doing, we will be more responsible, thus, safeguarding the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs. Think about the future! Think about sustainability!

"A desire presupposes the possibility of action to achieve it; action presupposes a goal which is worth achieving".–Ayn Rand

The question now is: how are the youth using the innovative social tools that Digital Media provide, to make people recognize and realize the impact of their resistance to change on the planet Earth?