Ladies and gentlemen I salute you all and thank you all for the initiative you have embarked on I believe this is a worthy ideal that all of us should join hands and ensure that we live in clean environments. This day gives me joy to know that there are people who are committed in ensuring a clean environment not just in our days but also tapping into the generations that will come. I am here to speak about sustainable development,this topic though is a tall order for me but I hope you’ll find the insights in my speech informative.
Sustainable development can be defined as a means of utilizing resources for the purpose of meeting human needs while still being conscious of the bigger picture that the conservation of the environment to bequeath future generations with the same resources so that they also will meet their needs without depleting these resources. It is a concept that seeks to make aware those that are living not to be oblivious of the fact that the future generations will require the same resources and so even as they use the resources not to compromise on the ability of these resources meeting the needs in future thus not putting the future in jeopardy.
It means consuming less than natures ability to replenish these resources. I would like to use the example of Easter Island that is a tiny,hilly island without trees and having a volcanic origin. It is widely believed that this island almost caused self destruction by cutting the native palm trees leading to the extinction of any flora thus triggering a string of environmental and social catastrophes that later ensued with monumental implications.
They cut the palm trees with abandon which from they used to get firewood for cooking and also for transport fuel,construction of canoes was also a precipitating factor for the rampant cutting of trees,they also needed space for their agricultural activities and this was how the cascade of social and environmental dangers came knocking. This is how Eastern Island walked the plank to self destruction. This is a classic example of why resources should be used sparingly to safeguard the future,failure to which we could be faced with extermination of a whole generation.
These people it is believed engaged in short sighted aggrandizement that would not be sustained at that rate. It is believed that this island was well endowed with resources and the precipitating factor for the collapse of this civilization was a population growth that assumed exponential levels while the supply of food was increasing just arithmetically. Once a civilization goes well beyond the threshold of the existing resources leading to deforestation,loss of biodiversity which leads to civil strife,diminished living standards and ultimately social collapse.
We don’t want to judge the inhabitants of these islands harshly because it could be they were unlucky to be living in ecosystems that were hyper fragile and one that got depleted. It is such experiences that we should use to secure our futures and that of our children’s children. The on going deforestation in the Amazon forest could have grave consequences. If this is not checked we can as well be prepared for another disaster.
Focus should then shift on how to protect this forest failure to which we shall all be liable of the sin of omission,by keeping quiet despite the obvious implications this will have to the environment. The reasons for cutting trees may be valid but this should not deter us from the big picture that is tomorrow. We can forgive the Easter Island and say that they did not know but we have the information and should avert a similar catastrophe befalling us especially in the twenty first century.
Even if we don’t get extinct future generations will judge us harshly for having been eccentric in dealing with the environment. I can only recommend that making sustainable development a reality is not rocket science though not easy it requires the cooperation of all stakeholders ranging from government,NGOs,private sector,civil society like your organization and educating all and sundry that as much as industrialization is crucial it should not be done at the expense of the future.
Thank you all for listening to me and for having taken it upon yourselves to stand and be counted as people who stood for the environment and as men and women of foresight.
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