Sustainable Development: Myth or Reality?

Prof. Vladimir Gorbanyov


The report “Our Common Future” gives a definition of sustainable development.

In principle, the idea of sustainable development is extremely humane and noble, and it has no alternative. But at the same time this idea in the modern world looks very unrealistic. This is more a slogan than a scientific concept. Sustainable development of our planet is a global process, it is an ideal, because our planet is a single balanced geoecological system. However, today theoretically sustainable development can be achieved only in a small number of highly developed post-industrial countries. In developing countries, unfortunately, there can be no question of sustainable development. In other words, at the global level, it is not possible to achieve sustainable development in the near future.

There can be no sustainable development in a single country. But this does not mean that all countries without exception do not need to implement environmental protection activity. On the contrary, it is necessary to carry out such activities everywhere. But this will not be sustainable development, this will be local measures for the rational use of nature. But all these measures are of a local nature, they will not become global, which means that this will not be a sustainable development.

However, the term “sustainable development” has gained wide popularity, is humane in nature, so it may remain, but we should remember that this is just a conditional term, and in fact it is a rational use of nature on a local level.

Examples of sustainable development strategies and projects in a number of countries are given. It is shown that most of these projects are in essence projects on rational nature use in individual regions. The other part which concerns global problems, can be implemented only by developed countries, they also cannot be sustainable development projects.

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