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Indiscriminate and Irrational Use of Resources and Exploitation of Environment

However, in the present world, this definition is slightly revised to include social and environmental aspects of development as well

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Resources, Exploitation, Environment
Sustainable development in layman's terms, is a process of attaining economic development with judicious utilization of available resources without the latter getting depleted. Pixabay

In this highly competitive and fast-growing world, every individual wants to achieve new heights. Each country wants to tread on the path of holistic growth in all spheres be it economic, social, or political to surpass the other countries.

This struggle of fast-tracking growth has given rise to indiscriminate and irrational use of resources and exploitation of the environment. Thus the need for sustainable development has been more strongly felt than ever before.

Sustainable development in layman’s terms, is a process of attaining economic development with judicious utilization of available resources without the latter getting depleted. However, in the present world, this definition is slightly revised to include social and environmental aspects of development as well.

To ensure that the notion of sustainable development does not fade away, the year 2015 witnessed the launch of a path-breaking initiative called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The United Nations and other leaders of the world formulated 17 goals having 169 targets in total to be fulfilled within 15 years.

Resources, Exploitation, Environment
This struggle of fast-tracking growth has given rise to indiscriminate and irrational use of resources and exploitation of the environment. Pixabay

These SDGs constitute all the necessary components of a progressive society ranging from physical safety to economic opportunity and good health. Their overarching aim is to end poverty, protect the planet and at the same time ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

On the contrary, the vastness of parameters accompanying SDGs is often looked upon as a challenge. The plethora of indicators taken into consideration not only make achieving these goals difficult but also make it strenuous to capture every one of these indicators.

This has resulted in an estimate that only one-third of the 230 indicators can be captured. This is primarily because SDGs, by definition, is merely a list of goals with no conceptual model. Thus, a framework is required, which provides a solution to these challenges.

The recently launched sixth round of Social Progress Index (SPI) seems to ameliorate this issue by providing a simple yet rigorous framework. This framework not only captures the spirit of the SDGs but also provides us with a tool to achieve these goals.

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Since SPI generates scores for each indicator, they can be easily tracked over time and thus can easily be understood and used by policymakers, researchers, businesses, and the general public for the betterment of our livelihood and society.

These scores give us a measure of actual progress made towards achieving these SDGs. The index, therefore, plays an instrumental role in monitoring their current performance and determine the areas to accelerate progress towards SDGs.

That being said, the Social Progress Index can indeed make SDGs a tangible reality.

Shockingly, the latest scores of SPI 2019 have raised concerns regarding the fulfilment of Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Resources, Exploitation, Environment
Thus the need for sustainable development has been more strongly felt than ever before. Pixabay

Michael Green, CEO of Social Progress Imperative, has argued that social progress is not advancing at the required rate, making it extremely difficult to fulfil the UN SDGs until 2073. However, this pessimism can be overturned if India and China, effectuate the goals rapidly.

Because of the humongous population base, both the countries can prove to be very influential in formulating these SDGs.

India so far has been fulfilling the goals but at a plodding pace. Since the inception of SDGs in 2015, the country has not been able to achieve any goal completely. But, for a variety of indicators, it has shown significant progress.

For instance, the poverty levels of India between 2004 and 2011, declined from 38.9 per cent of the total population to 21.2 per cent. The current rate of poverty is expected to be even lower, thus pushing India closer to achieving the first goal of no poverty. Combating undernourishment has been moderate. At present, 14.8 per cent of India’s population is undernourished.

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If the country pulls up its socks, the world will be 25.2 per cent closer to having achieved the SDG target of undernourishment. Also, it is a known fact that 22 out of the 30 most polluted cities of the world are in India.

However, with policies such as biomedical waste management, use of radiant heat for cooking purposes, imposing restrictions on single-use plastics, etc. can help in fulfilling the goal of climate action. Thus, the onus of driving the world towards sustainable development lies on India’s shoulders.

With an aim to evaluate the performance of countries in achieving the SDGs, the United Nations is organizing the first of its kind summit at its headquarters on September 24 and 25. The event will discuss the nitty-gritty related to the implementation of the 2030 agenda and also the plausibility of achievement of the target.

A comprehensive follow up of the SDGs along with a detailed analysis of SPI would be insightful and will highlight the areas of progress as well as concern. All these would chalk out the plan of action in making SDGs a reality. (IANS)

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Google gets Accused of Funding Groups that Defy Climate Change

According to a report in The Guardian, Google contributes heavily to conservative groups that defys Climate Change

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Google
Google gets accused of making "substantial" donations to Washington-based think tanks that defy climate change. Pixabay

Google has been accused of making “substantial” donations to at least a dozen Washington-based think tanks that deny climate change and are actively campaigning against stricter climate legislation.

This is in stark contrast to Google CEO Sundar Pichai who has taken a public pledge to take urgent action against the climate crisis.

According to a report in The Guardian, Google contributed heavily to conservative groups like the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and the American Conservative Union that are in support of regulatory efforts that benefit tech companies.

The CEI is a strong proponent of the idea that climate change is a myth. In the past, the group has taken tough stances in opposition to tech regulation and antitrust enforcement.

According to reports, Google is “trying to appease conservatives so it can retain important protections under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act a” a law that protects Google from being responsible for third-parties”.

A company spokesperson said that it might not endorse every policy position of an organization when it makes a contribution.

Google
Google tries to appease conservatives so it can retain important protections under a law that protects Google from being responsible for third-parties: Report. Pixabay

“We’re hardly alone among companies that contribute to organisations while strongly disagreeing with them on climate policy,” a Google spokesperson told The Verge.

Pichai last month announced the biggest corporate purchase of renewable energy in history — made up of a 1,600-megawatt (MW) package of agreements that includes 18 new energy deals.

“These deals will increase our worldwide portfolio of wind and solar agreements by more than 40 per cent, to 5,500 MW equivalent to the capacity of a million solar rooftops,” Pichai said in a statement.

“Once all these projects come online, our carbon-free energy portfolio will produce more electricity than places like Washington D.C. or entire countries like Lithuania or Uruguay use each year,” he added.

Google
The issue is in stark contrast to Google CEO Sundar Pichai who has taken a public pledge to take urgent action against the climate crisis. Pixabay

The announcement came as hundreds of Google employees participated in the “Global Climate Strike” during the United Nation’s climate summit on September 23.

In a blog post, the Google Workers for Action on Climate group highlighted some of the funding that the company was involved with that contradicted its public stance on climate change.

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“Google Cloud makes significant revenue licensing infrastructure, machine learning, and engineering talent to fossil fuel companies, promising to help them extract fuel reserves faster,” the group said. (IANS)