Munich Personal RePEc Archive

On harnessing natural resources for sustainable development

Mishra, SK (2010): On harnessing natural resources for sustainable development.


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Ever-increasing population and ever-proliferating demand for variety and choice together with a marked preference in favor of deliberate under-utilization of resources as well as deprecation of thrift have exposed the available reserves of natural resources to the danger of depletion. The culture based on the market economy has made the people concerned only about producing and consuming more, with their eyes closed to the indiscriminate exploitation of resources and dumping of the obnoxious byproducts into the environment. There is now abundant scientific evidence that humanity is living unsustainably. The environment is gradually becoming more overstressed; trophic chains and various biogeochemical cycles in the nature are being interrupted; ecological services are becoming disturbed. People now are transforming ecosystems throughout the world at a faster and more extensive pace than any other time in human history. In this milieu, this paper observes that bringing human use of natural resources within sustainable limits will require a major collective effort. There is a need to sensitize the people, especially the supposed and potential ‘creative core’, to direct their efforts to a serious thinking and action to change our present preoccupation with an unsustainable development towards sustainable development. The roles of other stakeholders and volunteer-involving organizations are no less important. sustainable development requires changes in institutions, more specifically the habits of thought and action, to opt for and adopt the new paradigm of development, to change the taste and liking regarding consumption, to think of social priorities and obligation vis-à-vis the personal ones and so on. Attitudinal changes, the alteration of the world view and the habits of thought, are only possible by a proper and holistic educational planning and an efficient governance of the academia, the government departments and the law-making and law-protecting framework of our society. The paper highlights the role of the ‘creative core’ and good governance, but the intelligentsia, especially in the less developed nations where social consciousness is dominated by the myopic personal agenda, will not be effective unless the monitoring of the entire program of development is efficient. The people must, therefore, come forward. But, while social consciousness is weak and dormant, this requirement pushes us into the vicious circle. This vicious circle is the real trap and obstacle to sustainable development.

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