In 1987 The United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) released a pioneering report concerning the environmental damage that is going on. Through the report, called “Our Common Future”, WCED passed a warning that soon the world would be facing intolerable levels of damage to the environment if we are not going to alter our way of living. It would also lead to the humans suffering due to it. The Commission explained that there is a pressing requirement of changing the speed as well as the trend of international economic growth so that it meets the capacity of the world.
It said: “Humanity has the ability to make development sustainable to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. ” (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987: 8) After thoroughly analysing the situation it can be concluded that the environmental crisis has an impact on each of the nation in the world. However, the extent to which they are affected is different and depends on the way they consume and also their economic expansion.
Just 25% of the global population consumes a very high percentage of the world’s fossil fuels and chemical goods; as high as 70% and 85% respectively. This unbalanced consumption also exists in the area of water. In the United States the per capita consumption of water goes as high as 2300m3 annually. In Canada the figure is at 1500m3 while in Britain it reaches up to 225m3. On the other hand, the developing countries have a much lower consumption, of between 20 and 40m3.
The trends of usage for the forest goods plus several of the other goods comprise of a similar direct proportion to the figure of population of the 20% of the wealthiest communities. Due to such extravagant demands, a great burden is being placed on the national as well as the world’s natural resources. The other societies make up to about 80% of the population, and get less than 20% of the world capital. The consumption of these societies is much more humble. Environmental Challenge Presently, there is not enough attention, at least not in the degree that is required, being paid to the social concerns.
Scientists are pointing out to the troubles that we are facing and which would make our survival difficult later on. Such troubles include warming globe, the earth’s ozone layer being depleted, the deserts consuming agricultural land. However, we are not responding to the warning in the appropriate manner; instead we ask them for further details. Initially it was thought that environmental degradation is primarily the concern of the richer countries and happens due to industrial affluence. However, now it is an issue for the developing countries as well.
The very poor countries are caught in the descending coil of associated environmental and economic decline. Although there are hopes being expressed at every side, no pattern can be seen nor any kind of campaigns or rules which would console the poor and decrease the increasing gap between rich and poor countries. For the purpose of “development” we have collected weapons which can divert routes, which had been pursued since millions of years, and can form such a planet that our ancestors may not identify as being theirs.
The biodiversity in the European continent is rapidly going down. Although Europe can be termed as wealthy and strong it does not seem that it has the practical ways for avoiding the decline. Birdlife International (Conservative Series 3) conducted a study and the results showed that 40% of the bird species are in an “unfavourable situation”. Since the past two decades the there has been a “substantial reduction” in one in four of Europe’s 514 bird species. It is ironic that such occurrences took place in the same years when there were the most conservative efforts made.
A re-strengthening of the European legislation has taken place, there are now more nature reserves and parks, and certain species which had disappeared in the area have been reintroduced. Concerning this issue, in 2003 the European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin said: “The time has come for coordinated European action to turn the tide on environmental threats… For too long, we have exploited the Mediterranean and Black Sea areas, without considering the eventual consequences of our actions.
We must invest in integrated programmes of research to deliver sustainable development solutions and long-term environmental protection for the benefit of our future generations. ” (Europa, 2003). In 2008, the European Commissioner for Environment Stavros Dimas publically addressed the audience at Harvard University and talked over this issue. Dimas related what the European Union’s “ambitious environmental agenda” is. This included targeting 20% decline in the consumption of energy by the year 2020. This was, internationally, the first plus the greatest emissions trading plan.
According to Dimas the agenda also targeted at using more and more of sustainable and renewable resources. Along with this Dimas emphasized that it is vital for there to be global collaboration on matters like climate change, biodiversity loss, and deforestation. The western world takes Eastern Europe as the place where there are smog and toxic spills. The priority of the communist regimes had been to intensify industrialization. Even though certain environmental rules exist in many areas and they were similar to those in the Western Europe, these were hardly ever implemented.
Polluted rivers, toxic waste dumps, and the terrains and cities being blackened by soot was the consequence. The environmental standards of the European Union are harsh and these have been pushing these nations for the cleaning up of their ecological destruction regions. 15 years of leniency has been given to the states that have recently joined the union. However, this leniency is only for those regions where much investment is required, for example the building of water purification schemes.
Several of the areas are already showing the signs of the clean-up attempts. For instance, there is the Black Triangle in Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. This area was once of the most polluted regions globally. It supplied energy to the heating and heavy industries through the power plants which worked on coal. Due to this whole forests were destroyed. However, by 2000 there had been such a significant change due to the efforts that emissions of sulphur dioxide and solid particles were lessened by greater than 90% (Habeck, 2004). Other Challenges
At the time when the terms of reference of the Commission were is discussion in 1982, some of the individuals proposed limiting the concerns to only “environmental matters”. This would not have been feasible. In fact it would be considered a major fault. The environment is not separate from our actions, determinations and requirements, and efforts to save only that and not look at other concerns would make the word “environment” a nuance of gullibility in certain political spheres. Certain others have restricted the term “development” to quite an inadequate centre, along the lines of “what poor countries should do to become richer”.
Therefore, those in the global scene mechanically dismiss it as being something that the experts are to worry about, and the ones concerned with queries regarding “development assistance”. European expansion (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD], 2006) has formed a new “rural” Europe. Certain of the rural areas of Central plus the Eastern Europe are being structurally transformed (Fraser, 2005). Simultaneously, in Europe and the member nations social services are being subjected to modernisation and improvement (Kumar et al. , 2003).
The researchers who are on the lookout for the construction of a dependable rural evidence base are facing confronts. They wish this to inform policy decisions and practice (European Commission [EC], 2006a; OECD, 2006). One of the challenges that they face happens to be the speed of transformation and the requirement for latest research (Commission for Rural Communities [CRC] 2006a). One more is the problem that they face to arrive at a mutual explanation of each of the two rural regions plus the social services so as to conduct a relative research in the European continent which is quite a varied region.
Europe is also facing challenges in the area of labour. When the Europeans lose jobs they get upset. This may happen because of inside rivalry in the European Union or because of the international competition that they face from other continents like Asia, and also from Latin America and the United States. In those regions the European carmakers have initiated their plants. The private sector has not been forming any significant number of new jobs since as early as the 1970s, and about 20 million Europeans are not employed of which several may not be ever.
Recently there was a survey held in Italy and the results showed that 38% of the participants though unemployment to be the most urgent challenge. This view was held by 58% of the respondents in France, whereas in Germany the figure was as high as 81%. The big nations that are at the centre of the euro region are languishing in the economic area but still they do not seem capable of coming to grips with the opening transformations which are required in such a planet of globalisation, spirited labour markets, and the portable capital pressures of our economies.
In the situation when a European loses his job because of his firm setting up in India instead, it is probable that he would not get another job. Plus due to the reducing demographic base the liberal pension systems are being threatened. Several of the European nations are going down and are not being able to sustain their people. For example, by 2050 the population of the Italian nation would go down, from a 57 million to 45 million. By the same time greater than half of the population in Germany would be above 55 years of age. Europe requires that immigration takes place.
But this happens to be a contentious means of raising the workforce, since there is a prevalent dread of a rising Muslim population. What is more important? The “environment” is the place where we live and for improving ourselves in the environment there has to be “development” taking place. That is to say that the two are indivisible. Additionally, the matters related to development should be perceived by the political chiefs as being important, as they think that their nations have achieved stability and the other countries should struggle at attaining that position.
The routes that the industrialized countries take for the purpose of development are obviously indefensible. The decisions that such nations make for improvement, due to their large economic plus political authority, would greatly affect the capability of each person for the sustenance of human growth. This would not be just for them but also for the further generations ahead. Several of the important survival matters concern unbalanced expansion, poverty and population growth.
All of these issues extraordinarily pressurize the world’s lands, waters, green areas, plus also other natural resources, not least in the developing nations. Chances and resources are wasted through the downward spiral of paucity and ecological deterioration. Especially it is wasting the human resources. Such associations between paucity, inequity, and ecological deterioration created a significant matter in the assessment and recommendations. There is a requirement of a new period of economic expansion. This expansion has to be powerful but also socially and environmentally sustainable.
“The search for a demanding dynamic balance between economic prosperity, environmental responsibility and social safety is certainly the essential civilizational, and consequently also political, task of the first half of the 21st century” (Plut, 2000: 149). The geopolitical part and situation of Europe had been altered drastically since the past some decades. Being the backing for the European continent, the EU reacted in two methods to the market-, technology- and information-related confrontations of globalisation and the macro regional rivalry with the United States and Japan: with development and nearer interrelation.
Nevertheless, the fact that whether the nonexistence of a wide-spread domestic marketplace had been the chief cause of a low level of rivalry of the international firms in the European continent is arguable. In the 1990s an even European Union market had been set up and this allowed for a more essential development of a shared policy also regarding the environment, transport, and communication network. In several ways the expansion of environment rules can possibly be recognized with a past of democratization of the European Union.
The EU nations accepted the Amsterdam Treaty in the June of 1997 and its environment related content was influenced a lot due to the deepened political pressures plus also good structured agendas of non-governmental environmental groups and green political parties. Because of the several past environmental pressures in the AC10, the procedure of their modification to the environmental legislation of the EU15 may seem to be extremely challenging, enduring, and due to their reduced item quality and social disaster, in all probability also politically conflictnous.
For the purpose of the incorporation into the European Union and also for the modification of the ecological legislation there would be a requirement of capital and this may turn out to be a great burden. The EU15 and the AC10 nations have similar environmental objectives. However, their initial situations, the time, and the means of change are far from identical. AC10 faced economic and social disasters in the beginning of transition and because of this there is no worry for the environment among them both; the people and the government.
In 2000, the AC10 had just started developing environmental action programmes and also incorporating the European Union environmental principles into their legislations. Before the EU environmental policy and rules can be adopted completely, there is an anticipation of a longer modification era. There is an anticipation of this era especially in the area of transport, energy sector and agriculture (European Environment Agency, 1999). There are fears of AC10 repeating the mistakes, that the EU nations committed in the 1970s, in the probable era of heavy economic expansion between the years 2000 and 2010 (2015) (Plut, 2000).
Conclusion Because of the deterioration of the environment the public health is being affected drastically and it is also leading to social inequity. For the meantime, the economically strong countries who are the causing it escape efficient management by the public. Under the new-liberal stick, environmental, communal and autonomous matters have previously not appeared to be so nearly connected. The effects happening due to the destruction of the environment have affected the developed nations along with the third world nations lately. Such effects have been in, for instance, the health.
According to recent studies, hundreds of deaths taking place annually in the major European cities are due to the air pollution which happens because of the too much vehicle traffic. Several others have to undergo chronic asthma, this too for the same reason. Similarly, a large number the young people are suffering from leukaemia. These are the ones who live near waste recycling and storage centre near the Hague, Holland. Industrial pollution is also affecting the babies and infants and they are going to endure it throughout their lives, not only medically but also socially.
Water resources are going down, so much so that there is a danger of scarcity. Whatever amount still is there has a poor quality. This is resulting in high prices of water and because of this an increasing number of people cannot get the municipal water supply since they cannot afford to pay the charges. Certain extremely poor Europeans even have to make use of mineral water due to the fact that they are not getting water in their taps. Such kinds of situations should provoke an environmental sense to be at the centre of attention.
Concerning biodiversity, the environmental requirements of Europe, just like in other regions, challenge the fundamental judgement regarding the market system that is governed by great, private welfare. It has been frequently thought that environmental requirements are a mere “luxury”, or at the minimum not the most important issue to be worried about, in front the prevalent social crisis. Nevertheless, suggestions of environmental catastrophe are very well felt in the north and the south and they are reaching an increasing scope of views of our situations of life.
Environmental matters have to be handled today, and not simply left for later years. This fact should have been taken into consideration previously; it should be considered even more now. References Anon. (2003). Turning the tide on environmental degradation: the EU examines ways to reverse damage in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Europa, [Online] 28 May 2003. Available at: http://europa. eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction. do? reference=IP/03/769&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en [Accessed 9 May 2009].
Commission for Rural Communities (CRC). (2006a). Rural Disadvantage – Reviewing the Evidence. Cheltenham: Commission for Rural Communities. European Environment Agency. (1999). Environment in the European Union at the Turn of the Century. Copenhagen: EEA. European Commission. (2006a). Rural Development in the European Union – Statistical and Economic information – Report 2006. [Online] September 2006. Available at: http://ec. europa. eu/agriculture/agrista/rurdev2006/RD_Report_2006. pdf [Accessed 9 May 2009].