As defined by the Brundtland Commission (Potter 2002) p. 117, sustainable development is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” We must all seek to sustain the development of nations, equity between social classes and the end of poverty. Development is therefore an appropriate goal that must be created through sustainable methods, in order to generate growth and the participation of people in their own development.
The economy is based on its main source, the environment, nature that provides animals, plants, air, water, land, etc. If we do not protect our main source of life, sooner or later it will affect our health and quality of life. Social equity is obtained through a strong economy and the satisfaction of other types of needs, beyond the basic ones. These three make up an interconnected cycle that provides us with almost all of our needs.
Spangenberg (Spangenberg 2004), p. 12 outlines four issues that we must address:
• The environmental challenge, the degradation of the natural base of human life
• The first social challenge, the increasingly unequal distribution of income and assets,
• The second social challenge, the high number of people living in poverty
• The institutional challenge, the consequent threats to peace and security.
These issues seek, through proper public administration, to provide citizens with opportunities to have a decent life, the basis of sustainable development. Therefore, a dignified life is affected by the following issues, as pointed out by Rogers et al (Rogers 2008), and they are factors that must be seriously considered to achieve sustainable development:
• Population planning. According to Rogers et al (Rogers 2008) p. 53, “population growth is not such a significant factor in environmental degradation”, but I agree with the authors that when competition for resources such as land and water improves, it intensifies, which can lead to conflict.
•Participation. Where citizens influence and control activities that contribute to their own development, including the poor and the disadvantaged
• Policies and market failures. Above all, being indifferent to what is damaging resources, or prioritizing deforestation activities.
•Good government. Its relationship to market failure and policy success is noted. Unfortunately, in many developing countries, for example, corruption is common and characterized by the use of any opportunity to abuse others. In my opinion, it is an unfair threat to development or the worst cancer. According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP 2008), “The erosion of human rights and respect for constitutional authority hinder programs to alleviate poverty and increase human security.” The impact of corruption is worse for poor people and in developing countries.
• Disaster Prevention and Management. Disasters can affect everyone at any time and people should be aware of this. Disasters are unexpected, with little or no warning or opportunity to prepare. Available personnel and emergency services may be initially overwhelmed by the demand for their services, and life, health, and the environment are at risk (CT Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security 2003). The migration of rural inhabitants to urban cities, seeking more job opportunities, health services or others, makes people locate in the surroundings or hillsides of cities, where public services are scarce or do not exist, as well as transportation or other community services. People usually move in poor conditions, aggravating the economic growth of cities.
•Natural disasters. Disaster management is requested as a requirement of sustainable development because it impacts sectors such as social, economic and environmental.
Christisms of the 1st Green Revolution
The Green Revolution (GR) was originally implemented in response to a growing population during the 1960s. As Malthus overlooked, innovation became the solution to handling exponential population growth. The food supply was increased by implementing high-yield varieties (VAR) of crops that were genetically modified to increase yields. This was initially thought to have been a successful endeavor. Rice and wheat yields in India tripled as more crops were able to grow on the same amount of land. GR was praised for increasing per capita productivity, creating more resistant crops, using less fertilizer, and shortening growing seasons (Benson 2007).
However, as the green revolution spread, social, economic and environmental problems arose. The economic problems started because the new crop varieties were expensive, creating a situation in which only the wealthiest farmers could grow them. As food production for these wealthier farmers increased, food prices plummeted. The smaller-scale farmers could not compete with these prices and were forced to sell to the large consolidating monopolies. This, together with the fact that the mechanization of farms generated higher unemployment, generated social problems due to the increase of people who moved away from rural sectors and moved to urban areas. The cities were filled with unemployed former farmers seeking employment, creating numerous social problems (Benson 2007).
From an environmental point of view, it was overlooked that increased yield per area would mean greater stress on the land for that area. Higher levels of irrigation led to salinization of the soil, while increased demand for water led to the intrusion of salt water into the aquifers. Due to the fact that newly created crops were more resistant to the damaging effects of pesticides, farmers began to use more pesticides instead of less. This subsequently polluted the water supply further, leading to the cycle of the poor getting poorer due to environmental pollution.
The initial Green Revolution failed in part because it did not examine externalities. He myopically tried to focus solely on the problem of production without comprehensively considering the social, environmental and economic ramifications of his strategy.
The article “The End of Plenty” (Bourne 2009), notes that the use of pesticides and chemicals is killing farmers. It has also been shown to cause blood cancer in farmers. For example, in Punjab, India, researchers found pesticides in farmers ‘blood, water table, vegetables, and even their wives’ breast milk. Another reason is the high cost of fertilizers and pesticides that has put many farmers in Punjab in debt. A second green revolution could be based on genetic modification only for the purpose of growing new varieties with higher yields, lower fertilizer needs and tolerance to drought, but I think that, nevertheless, a genetically treated seed could involve other as yet unknown side effects . I agree with Rachel Bezner Kerr (Bourne 2009) p. 58, that large companies are pressuring farmers to participate in foreign programs rather than using green methods and local resources and skills.
In general, the first green generation failed because they focused only on using the land without having a better management plan to avoid depletion. This first green generation exemplifies the misconception that we still have that primarily economic development is the best option for progress. The concept of the second green revolution is an improved version of what the first practitioners wanted to do, but this time the environmental element is included.