Updated September 10, 2022

Sustainable Development: Understanding the Relationship between Society and Environment

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Sustainable Development: Understanding the Relationship between Society and Environment essay
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Sustainable development is the progress that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meets their own needs” (WCED, 1987, p8). Sustainable development comprises of the environment, the economy and society. Sustainable development is an important concept in understanding society’s relationship with the environment.

Sustainable development goes through changes to protect the resources found in the environment at the same time controlling these resources. In terms of the environment, sustainable development “enables the environment to meet the needs of all without leaving the future generation with fewer natural resources than those who enjoy them today” (Roberts, 2004). This development is a very crucial because it helps define the relationship between human activities which is, the society and the natural world which refers to the environment, this does not diminish the prospects of future generation to enjoy a quality of life as good as the one in the present generation.

Environmental sustainability is not a new idea at all: “many cultures in society have acknowledged that there is a necessity for harmony between the environment and society” (Roberts, 2004). It aims at creating a balance between environmental sustainability and socio-political sustainability.

Sustainable development aims at bringing social progress and equality, environmental protection and conservation of natural resources and stable economic growth. It seeks to manifest a higher standard of living for human beings which recognize that this cannot be attained at the expense of environmental reliability. “It helps in the maintenance of ecological processes, preservation of biodiversity and sustainable use of species and ecosystems” (Connelly and Smith 2003). Sustainable development helps in global environmental management; it gives a clear indication that without a reduction in poverty levels, ecosystem damage would be difficult to counter.

Sustainable development consists of long-term, integrated approach for the purpose of developing and achieving a healthy community, by addressing the environmental issues and views of the people from the society, this is so done by mainly avoiding the consumption of key natural resources. Sustainable development encourages conservation and enhancement of the resources; this is achieved by putting into consideration the gradual change in the development and use of technology. “The issue of technology enables people in society to meet their basic needs of employment, food, water, energy, and sanitation” (Connelly and Smith 2003). If this is completed in a sustainable manner, it leads to the need of creation for a sustainable level of population.

Sustainable development aims at bringing progress to the people in the society and equity, protection the natural environment where the people live and conserving the natural resources found within the environment. Everyone in society should have a healthy, hygiene and secure environment. This is achieved by reducing pollution, unemployment, poverty and poor housing. No one in society, at present or in the coming future should have unfair treatment. “There are global environmental threats like a change of climate and poor air quality; this must be reduced to protect the human and the environment thus revealing how sustainable development is a crucial aspect in giving the relationship between the two” (Baker, 2006). The use of non-renewable energy like fossil fuel should be encouraged overnight and must be used in an efficient manner and encourage the use of other alternatives to help them phase out.

Sustainable development helped in coming up with ways of managing sewage in society. The developments that take place in the society aims at creating energy efficient and zero-waste neighborhoods; this involves finding sustainable methods for wastewater management. “The extreme forms of urban climate ad agglomeration of people and values lead to high vulnerability in terms of water quantity resulting to flooding and heavy rainfall; the quality is also affected because of the activities that take place within the environment” (Baker, 2006). Development sustainability helps in the treatment of wastewater at their sources; this is important in cost reduction and provision of access to reclaimed water for use by the people in the society.

There are three main sources of energy, the wood fuel, petroleum, and electricity this is not mainly used because of the cost, the pollution it causes and availability, sustainable development has made it easier since it has led to use of charcoal briquette made from wastes like sawdust, coffee husks, and wheat straws. “This new form of energy has a lot of demand in most households because they have the urge to protect the natural forest, it is smokeless, it saves time and can be used inside the households” (Caniglia, et al., 2016). By so doing, the natural forest in the environment is protected, and the society has an efficient form of energy.

The development of sustainable renewable energy is geared by development sustainability. “It utilizes advanced technology enabling reduction of cost in the solar electricity sector, the renewable energy protects the environment and minimizing the carbon levels which may cause harm to the people in the society, this system also minimizes energy requirements” (Caniglia, John, Kohler, Bellina, Wiek, Rojas, Laubichler and Lang, 2016). This green energy helps serve and develop solar voltaic power projects committed to making the solar electricity part of long term electricity infrastructures, by so doing it helps utilize the natural source of light while minimizing the effects other sources of energy imposes to the environment.

Sustainable development states that our approach to development affects every person in society. The impacts of the decisions made by society members have greater consequences in the lives of the people. Poor planning of communities reduces people’s quality of life if society relies on the food imported rather than growing it in the environment it puts them at very high risk of food shortage. Sustainable development makes appropriate decisions on the issues that affect the lives of people. By in cooperating tactics on health plans into the planning of new communities in the society, this is done by ensuring that the residents of a given place have easy access to better healthcare and leisure facilities. “This is achieved by ensuring the growth of sustainable food in the environment and having efficient food supply chains for long term future” (Ghai & Vivian, 2014). In this, a collection action should be taken for real change to take place.

Climate change is growing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events like drought and floods, this change aggregates water management problems, reducing agricultural production and food security and increasing health risks. To enhance this, society and environment have to play an important role in dealing with this; sustainable development helps strengthen adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters. “To integrate climate change measures into national; policies, strategies, and planning help deal with the whole issue as a whole” (Ghai and Vivian, 2014). Great concern is also put in the promotion of mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management to the people; this focuses mostly on women, youth and local and marginalized communities in the society.

Explanation above clearly shows that sustainable development is an important concept in understanding society’s relationship with the environment. Its importance is felt because it prevents drought and flooding. With the increase in population growth, sustainable development strategies have to be employed to ensure a favourable environment for growing food products leading to the survival of people in society.


  1. Baker, S. (2006) Sustainable Development. London: Routledge
  2. Caniglia, G., John, B., Kohler, M., Bellina, L., Wiek, A., Rojas, C., Laubichler, M.D. and Lang, D. (2016) An experience-based learning framework: Activities for the initial development of sustainability competencies. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 17(6): 827-852
  3. Connelly, J. and Smith, G. (2003) Politics and the Environmental. From Theory to Practice. London: Routledge
  4. Ghai, D. and Vivian, J. (2004) Grassroots environmental action: people’s participation in sustainable development. London: Routledge
  5. Roberts, J. (2004) Environmental Policy. London: Routledge
  6. WCED (World Commission on Environment and Development) (1987). Our common future. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK

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How are sustainable development and environment related to each other?
Sustainable development is the practice of developing land and construction projects in a manner that reduces their impact on the environment by allowing them to create energy efficient models of self-sufficiency.
What do you understand by sustainable development discuss the relationship between the environment and development?
According to him, “Sustainable development is a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising future generations' ability to meet their own needs .” That means living a sustainable life; we should take care of our planet, people, and our resources.
What is the relationship between environmental education and sustainable development?
Environmental education is thus closely associated with sustainable development . This relationship however can be perceived in different ways. For some, sustainable development is the ultimate goal of environmental education: the term environmental education “for” sustainable development (EEFSD) is proposed.
Why is it important to develop a sustainable society and environment?
Sustainability improves the quality of our lives, protects our ecosystem and preserves natural resources for future generations . In the corporate world, sustainability is associated with an organization's holistic approach, taking into account everything, from manufacturing to logistics to customer service.
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