Nature requires collective answers

by Stephanie Faucher | The Energy and Resources Institute
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 06:13 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“The crisis brought about by the accelerated pace and the probably irreversible character of the impact of human activities on nature requires collective answers from governments and citizens. (…) Among the different fields of global governance, environmental management is the most wanting in urgent answers to the crisis in the form of collective actions by the whole of the human community.

Rethinking the relationship of human beings with each other and with Nature is an aspiration shared by a growing number of women and men. They take a critical look at a development that too often undermines the environment and relegates the majority of humanity in poverty. Sustainable development comes from the idea that everything cannot continue as before. We need to overcome the shortcomings of a model of development based on economic growth and reconsider the way we do in light of new priorities.

Delhi Sustainable Development Summit

The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), since 2001, annually organizes the DSDS, an international platform to facilitate the exchange of knowledge on all aspects of sustainable development. Over the past 13 years, it has emerged as one of the foremost forum on issues of global sustainability. This flagship event of TERI brings together various Heads of State and Government, global thinkers, policy makers and industry and academia to deliberate on myriad issues.

The 14th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit will continue to feature Thematic Tracks, successfully introduced at DSDS 2013, revolving around specific issues in the areas of energy, water and food security.

Otherways to showits commitment

DSDS 2014 will also host an Exhibition of innovations and technologies that will provide a platform for exhibitors from across the world to demonstrate and showcase their environment-friendly technologies, innovations, products and services. This exhibition aims at not only generating more awareness; but also promoting and encouraging the adoption of cleaner technologies. Entrepreneurs, corporates, research and academic institutions, and grassroots organization will be invited to showcase their innovations and technologies. The GREEN EDGE PARTNERS concept will also show how many entrepreneurs around the world imbibed sustainability in their business. 

A recent study by the World Bank highlighted the necessity of green growth and estimates that annual monetary cost of environmental degradation in India amounts to about INR 3,75 trillion (USD 80 billion) which is equivalent to 5.7 per cent of India’s GDP. It is thus in India’s economic and social interest to foster progressive policies demands complementing action from all sections of society.

Earth`s resources cannot be taken for granted

Despite the fact that many countries are developing renewable energy and that thousands of local communities are working to reduce their environmental footprint, human society has been largely irresponsible in deadline with these challenges. The amount of greenhouse gases emitted globally continues to increase.

Population growth, expanding cities, and accelerating economic activity increase the demand for energy and food and create unsustainable pressure on water resources. By 2030, humanity’s demand for water could outstrip supply by as much as 40 per cent.

Water, energy and food are inextricably linked and water scarcity would destabilize the balance. This would place water, energy, and food security at risk, increase public health costs, constrain economic development, lead to social and geopolitical tensions, causing lasting environmental damage.

As the renowned environmentalist and Director-General of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Dr. R K Pachauri, said, “The human condition in the future would depend increasingly on how we are able to visualize and quantify some of the threats that we are likely to witness in supply of energy, water and food. (...) It is only then that measures can be taken in hand early enough to be able to devise adaptation measures and evolve new knowledge and technological solutions by which security can be enhanced and the risks of negative changes can be reduced.” Knowledge and awareness are the best ways to make things change.