The environment is one of the main pillars of sustainability, alongside social and economic factors. A safe, clean and self-sufficient environment can provide human beings with all that is necessary in order to express their dignity and to live in genuine freedom and solidarity with each other. As a person who runs a small NGO in the field of sustainable development in Romania, I can tell you that nowadays the term “environment” is often misunderstood and sometimes deliberately misused in order to hide an eclectic and radical ideology which has nothing to do with sustainable development or with offering real solutions to real environmental problems. This radical trend emphasizes the superiority of nature over human beings, causing harmful effects like eco-terrorism and anarchic behavior among youth in some environmental movements which are active across Europe. In this respect, it is important to point out the correct approach towards implementing a genuine environmental policy and achieving sustainable development.
First and foremost, it is important to stress that environmental protection was acknowledged as the third pillar of sustainable development at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg. The environment plays a huge role in human development, emphasizing the responsible stewardship of natural resources, the change in the patterns of production and consumption. This approach is focused on implementing efficient policies that will enable people to access education and decent employment, and help them in their effort of building sustainable communities based on abundance and self-sufficiency.
Therefore, irresponsible consumption, degradation, and depletion of natural resources have a huge impact on human life. As human beings we live in communities, in an environment based on interdependence and recognition of the fact that our actions affect not only our existence in an individualistic way, but also in a holistic way, influencing the ecosystems surrounding us.
Economically we need to foster a model based on research and innovation, harnessing the unlimited potential of the human mind. This is a prerequisite condition to achieve sustainable development.
As a member of the World Youth Alliance, I believe that we are born with intrinsic dignity and that we have the capacity to influence our environment in order to achieve integral human development, understood as physical, spiritual and emotional growth.
By: Victor Ciumac, member at WYA Europe