The world has been developing at an unsustainable rate. The result has created harm to the environment, economies, and societies around the world. In order to change our direction, we must focus on sustainable development for the benefit of future generations.  

In this article, we’ll explain what sustainable development is and why it is important. We’ll look at how these practices aim to improve the environment, economy, and society for a better future. Then, we’ll cover the goals of sustainable development, and the important role youth will play in this transition to a sustainable future. 

What Is Sustainable Development and Its Importance? 

Sustainable development is a practice performed by both developed countries and developing countries. It aims to solve the issues we are faced with today while leaving an opportunity for future generations to solve their own issues.  

Sustainable development considers environmental issues, economic concerns, and social problems. The goal of focusing on these aspects of human life is to ensure the prosperity of life on Earth for many generations to come.  

Let’s cover each aspect of sustainable development to understand its importance in improving the quality of life on Earth. Below, we’ll explore the important role sustainable development has on the environment, the economy, and society. 

How Does Sustainable Development Help the Environment? 

It’s essential to recognize the environmental impacts of development in order to preserve the health of the planet in the future. Today, we are faced with climate change as a result of unsustainable development practices. We must focus on environmental sustainability moving forward.  

Our industrial practices have resulted in increased greenhouse gas concentrations and, as a result, global warming that harms Earth’s natural habitats and human prosperity for the future. If our unsustainable development continues, future generations will have to bear the environmental burden we have created for them. Some of the environmental issues unsustainable practices create include:   

Extreme weather patterns 
The devastation of ecosystems 
Lack of food 
Water scarcity 
Public health issues 

Fortunately, sustainable development practices provide an outline for restoring the health of the environment so that future generations may prosper. Climate action involves understanding our environmental impacts as the first step in creating more sustainable development at a global level.  

We know our actions have caused global warming, so we now must develop strategies to reduce our environmental impact. Transitioning to renewable energy and clean energy and protecting our planet’s natural resources ensure that future generations will have a healthy environment full of abundance and prosperity. 

How Does Sustainable Development Help the Economy? 

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Sustainable economic development considers economic prosperity for humans around the world. One of the greatest threats to humans is extreme poverty that has been created as a result of unsustainable development. Economic sustainable development aims to provide equal economic opportunity and a fair chance at prosperity for all individuals around the world.  

Unsustainable economic practices include the depletion of natural resources in a nation so that future generations suffer economically. They also include the unfair treatment of certain individuals, like women and girls, that ultimately stagnates the opportunity for economic growth.  

In order to guarantee the future is one with economic sustainable development, we must ensure that economies are prepared to grow moving into the future. This means setting up economic structures that include responsible banking and other financial institutes. In addition, all members of nations must be provided an equal opportunity for economic prosperity. As fair and equal economic prosperity flourishes, the quality of human life around the globe will improve.  

How Does Sustainable Development Help Society? 

Sustainable development aims to create a civil society that is peaceful and prosperous. Violence and fear within society are not beneficial to sustainable development. Instead, we must focus on creating societies that are peaceful, just, and inclusive.  

Society is riddled with violence and exploitation of innocent humans around the world. Whether these atrocities occur within legal systems or outside of the law, they must be altered in order to create a sustainable social future for people all over the globe.  

Ending violence and exploitation is a top priority of sustainable development. When society is absent of these threats, humans will have the opportunity to achieve prosperity at a social and economic level.   

Ending discrimination within law and institutions is another essential aspect of creating an environment where people can prosper and where social suffering can end. Sustainable development will protect human rights around the globe. 

What Are the 5 P’s of Sustainable Development? 

The five P’s of sustainable development are the areas of humanity and the world that need improvement for a sustainable future. They are outlined in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 2030 Agenda is the initiative that outlines the goals and actions required in order to achieve sustainable development around the world.   

The 5 P’s include:   

People 
Planet 
Prosperity 
Peace 
Partnership  

Below, we’ll cover each in detail. 

1) People

Sustainable development aims to end human suffering around the world, whether it is from poverty, hunger, or inequality. A safe environment for all humans to pursue their dreams and fulfill their happiness is an essential goal of sustainable development. 

2) Planet

Our planet must be protected and respected so that current generations and future generations have a healthy environment to live in and prosper. Consuming natural resources at a sustainable rate, protecting the natural environment, and reducing the effects of climate change ensures the planet will remain healthy in the future. 

3) Prosperity

Humans around the world deserve the opportunity for prosperous lives. Sustainable development wants to see prosperity all around the globe while ensuring that nature can prosper as well. 

4) Peace

A peaceful society is a must to achieve sustainable development. Ending human suffering in all of its forms creates societies that are inclusive and safe environments for all humans to grow. 

5) Partnership

Global partnership is key to achieving sustainable development around the globe. Humanity is capable of remarkable feats when we come together, so partnerships around the globe will aid in our achievement of a common goal. When sustainable development is realized, the world will be a healthier and safer place to live for current and future generations. 

What Are the 17 Goals of Sustainable Development? 

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The 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) are designed to enact the necessary changes around the world to achieve a sustainable future. These goals were created as part of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to address the 5 P’s.   

Here are the 17 global goals:  

Goal 1: Bring poverty to an end around the world. 
Goal 2: Bring hunger to an end and support sustainable agriculture. 
Goal 3: Promote healthy living and well-being for people of all ages. 
Goal 4: Create accessible and inclusive quality education, so individuals have access to learning opportunities throughout their lives. 
Goal 5: Promote fairness for women and girls and achieve gender equality around the world. 
Goal 6: Promote access to clean water and provide sanitation for all communities. 
Goal 7: Transition to modern and renewable energy around the world at a fair price for all and end dependence on fossil fuels and reduce emissions. 
Goal 8: Promote sustainable economic growth and decent work for everyone. 
Goal 9: Promote sustainable industrialization that harbors innovation and creates quality infrastructure. 
Goal 10: Create equality around the world, both within countries and between them. 
Goal 11: Promote sustainable cities and sustainable human settlements everywhere. 
Goal 12: Protect natural resources and the environment through sustainable consumption and production. 
Goal 13: Fight climate change for a better natural environment and quality of life on Earth. 
Goal 14: Protect the ocean and its resources for future generations. 
Goal 15: Prevent land degradation and biodiversity loss through sustainable land management practices like reforestation and the prevention of desertification. 
Goal 16: Create societies that are inclusive and free of inequality in all of its forms. 
Goal 17: Promote the global partnership for sustainable development. 

What Is the Role of the Youth in Sustainable Development? 

Youth play a significant role in seeing sustainable development come to pass. According to the U.N., there are 1.8 billion people between the ages of 10 and 24 today. That means we have the largest number of youths in history. These youth represent the future of sustainable development and will play a crucial role in changing the world for the better.  

The United Nations places great emphasis on the important role youth play in changing our world for the better. They have outlined five important roles that youth can play when it comes to sustainable development:  

Critical thinkers: Youth naturally question the world around them in order to make sense of what is occurring. This development in critical thinking is a major asset for the youth. They can question what is occurring in the world and provide alternatives for a better future. 
Change makers: Youth are rallying together to make a change in the world by utilizing social media and other means of global connection. 
Innovators: Youth have the capacity to think outside the box. Fresh perspectives on issues mean that youth can provide innovative insights into various issues around the world. 
Communicators: Youth can act as excellent communicators in the process of making individuals around the world aware of sustainable development changes. 
Leaders: Preparing youth to become world leaders is essential for moving into the future. Youth have the capacity to develop essential leadership skills through programs that empower them. 

Why Is Sustainable Development Necessary for the Future? 

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Sustainable development is necessary for the future because it solves issues we are faced with today while allowing future generations room to solve their own issues. Sustainable development seeks to improve the quality of life on Earth. Environmental, economic, and social changes are essential to developing a society that is sustainable for years to come.  

Provided that the goals of sustainable development are met, our world can realize prosperity and equality for all. With the help of youth to drive the changes needed for sustainable development to occur, the future looks bright for our world.  

Check out Terrapass’ carbon-offsetting options to explore how you can participate in the global shift toward sustainability. 

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