The economic growth model of development is characterized by the use of modern technology, the factory system of production and rapid industrialization and urbanization. The western countries initially followed this model of development and prescribed it for the less develop ones. The consequences of adoption of the Western model of development by the less developed countries were not all positive. It is realized that the reckless pursuit of industrialization and the use of resource exploitative modern technology for development have resulted in environmental deterioration to such an extent that the very existence of all the living species is endangered.
The environmental degradation that has occurred is marked by large-scale extraction finite natural resources. Loss of forests, extinction of the Ozone layer, air, water, and soil pollution etc have posed a serious threat to the very survival of life on this planet. Human beings need both ‘development’ and ‘environment’. Of course development is important but that does not mean that we should deteriorate our environment for development. That’s why we should find the way in which both the environment and development are maintained. I am talking about the sustainable development. “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Due to the pressures generated by growing social needs, societies are using modern technologies for extracting and utilizing natural resources, which are limited. If we continue to exploit existing limited natural resources, future generations will not be able to meet their own needs.
Thus the concept of “sustainable development” is based on an integrated view of development and environment. In short it implies that (i) we should direct our efforts towards redressing the damage already done to the environment by earlier unsustainable patterns of economic growth (ii) we should follow such a pattern of development which avoids further damage to the planet’s ecosystem and ensures meeting of the needs of present as well as future human generations.