[SDGs] Sustainability is not a balancing!

What do you think of when you hear the word sustainability? Many of us have seen diagrams like this one.




Sustainability is a balance between the environment, society and the economy? Is sustainability in the middle, where those three overlap? Is it really this kind of sustainability? The current deforestation situation is the result of balancing each period. The virgin forest cannot be restored once it has been taken.




1) We have virgin forests.
2) The economy is important, so we balance the virgin forest and cut it in half.
3) Ten years later, the economy is important, so we balance the other half and cut the virgin forest in half again.
4) After 10 years, the economy is important, so we balance and halve the remaining half again. There is only a little more than 10% of virgin forest left.

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, held in Stockholm in June 1972, the Rio Summit United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, commonly known as the Earth Summit, was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 1992. This was a crucial meeting, as it agreed to start the signing of Agenda 21, the Statement of Forest Principles, the Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity. At that time, the concept of sustainability was a balance between the environment, society and the economy. As times change, decision-makers will change, and at that time, we will have to find the balance again, which will lead to the situation described above.


In 2002, the Stockholm Resilience Centre published the "Sustainability Wedding Cake", which shows the balance between the environment and the economy. The diagram shows that there is a society within the environment, and within society, there is the economy. Many people do not live in desert areas where the environment has been destroyed. Also, in conflict areas, the problem of Syrian refugees happened a few years ago because they cannot carry out proper economic activities.





This 17 goals of the SDGs Wedding Cake is quite different from the SDGs diagram on the ladder, which is commonly arranged. In the ladder-like SDGs, where the numbers are generally arranged from lowest to highest, the environment is a luxury, and many social and economic problems seem to have to be solved before they tackle the environmental problem. However, it is difficult to run an economy and society where the environment is broken, so even in developing countries, environmental protection activities and measures against climate change are necessary. If we put it this way, doesn't it change the way we see the SDGs?

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