Sustainable development and experience in the Netherlands
Sustainable development is progress in human comfort, where the resources, with which we reach these comforts, can be exploited repeatedly. A fine example of sustainable development would be producing energy via renewable energy sources e.g. sun, wind, and water. The energy, generated sustainably, powers our households, and enables us to keep reading when the sun sets down, giving certain people enough time to think of innovations to furthermore ease our living.
Development of sustainable development
When the industrial revolution kicked off in full potential it seemed as if it was the only revolution to date that would not cause any difficulties. However, very quickly flies felt into the ointment of the revolution and ,,human progress”. The bourgeoisie had potentiated its hunger for wealth by exploiting workers with long shifts, no rest days, no vacation time, etc. But the problem that most concerns our topic is the pollution it had caused. The immense growth in coal consumption gave rise to an unprecedented level of air pollution in industrial centers. It seemed as if there was not going to be any human progress as many people were intoxicated by polluted waters and air. By universal recognition of the problem, first movements towards sustainability were made.
The modern conservation movement in balance with development was first manifested in the forests of India in the mid-19th century, with the practical application of scientific conservation principles. With sustainable development being looked on with a scientific paradigm it had become more credible and influential. The conservation program spread to Britain, wherein 1855 the first permanent and large-scale forest conservation program in the world was introduced. Many of the colonies as well as the United States of America adopted it. On the foundation of the scientific conservation movements, first environmental movements were established.
In 1968, The Club of Rome was founded. It is now composed of “scientists, economists, businessmen, international high civil servants, heads of state and former heads of state from all five continents who are convinced that the future of humankind is not determined once and for all and that each human being can contribute to the improvement of our societies. They state that viewing the problems of mankind (environmental deterioration, poverty, endemic ill-health, criminality) individually, in isolation, or as ,,problems capable of being solved in their own terms”, is doomed to failure. Undoubtedly, all such problems are interrelated and must be dealt with with all-inclusive consideration. The club published a very famous book called The limits to growth and is now based in Switzerland.
In 1987, a nonprofit membership organization called, Social Venture Network was founded. Its focus is a sustainable business and is composed of a multitude of various business leaders who look to create a more just and sustainable world. The organization encompasses around 500 leaders whose enterprises strive for sustainability.
With more and more environmental organizations being established, the pressure of their work steered the way towards global recognition of environmental problems and sustainability as a solution. As a result, The United Nations formed The Millennium Development Goals in the year 2000. Eight sustainable development goals were portrayed and had given the World till 2015 to reach them. The goals were very ambitious and holistic but that did not stop the UN to put forward new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 to be reached till 2030.
The three pillars of sustainable development
When talking about sustainable development we have to keep three things in mind at once: economic development, social progress, and environmental preservation. These are the three pillars of sustainable development. Only focusing on social and economic progress and development, disregarding environmental preservation, leads to polluted waters and other elements, exploited natural resources till their disappearance, and destroyed ecosystems by doing the latter. There is no progress and development possible, where the foundation is rotten. The same goes for vice versa. Overlooking social and economic development to preserve nature leads to zero progress and returns us to the stone age.
The conservation in Kenya aimed to save endangered animals and make progress in achieving SDG 15 — life on land. Rich countries made a significant contribution to wildlife conservation in Kenya. This meant wildlife reserves became bigger and wildlife was no longer endangered. However, the growing wildlife population started to interfere with neighboring communities’ lands. The animals invaded and damaged local farmland. The poor farmers had to rehabilitate their surfaces from their pockets, giving rise to high levels of poverty. Fighting the SDG 15, meant distancing from SDG 1 — no poverty. (favoring natural preservation over social progress)
To provide another case, China’s primary goal since 1978 has been to drive economic growth (SDG 8 — decent work and economic growth). Their GDP graph grew exponentially, and 850 million people were lifted out of poverty (SDG 1). While they have made great economic improvements and lifted many people out of poverty, air, water, and land pollution caused a health cost of 1.4 trillion dollars. They sacrificed their social and environmental pillar for the economy.
To sum up, when talking about sustainable development we have to take an integrated approach, where each pillar is evenly shouldering the weight of sustainable development.
Why do we reach for sustainable development?
Most people share the same views that throughout history categorical improvements were made. The child mortality rate in 1950s Europe was the same as it is today in Africa. There are fewer and fewer people in poverty. The accessibility to different articles has never been a lesser of a problem. In third world countries, the index of human development is raising. But it seems that this is not the factor that makes people happy. The data shows that human happiness has been declining in comparison to previous years. I claim that the only true happiness is the consequence of effort. Based on that, I think people do not strain themselves as they did in the past. Everything is more reachable, and the world demands less endeavor for a certain goal as it did a few decades ago. Proportionately with effort, happiness declines.
It is possible that the consequences of an expedient lifestyle are being felt. The responsibility and the purpose of a civilization should be its preservation. Every responsibility, which is the true meaning of life, demands immeasurably more endeavor than expediency. The latter demands less effort and promises pretendedly happiness. We have wrongfully chosen the easy way out. In the form of comprehensive rapid development, we were promised happiness that turned out to be pretendedly. This is the same process as individual deterioration when the individuum chooses to live an expedient life rather than a responsible one. The only difference in the expedient lifestyle of the civilization and the individuum is in the time it takes for either one of them to collapse.
I think that sustainable development is an answer to the stated circumstances. It is a goal demanding real effort as all three pillars have to shoulder the same weight. The difficulty of balancing our innate will to live comfortably and the concern regarding environmental and humankind preservation is tremendous. But pushing our limits and mastering the difficulty of balancing will lead our civilization through many more years of content existence.
Experience with the Netherlands
Sustainable development has sadly become highly politized. Because sustainable development deals with human progress critically, it has given the left part of the political spectrum the chance to subordinate it under their agenda of Marxist ideology that opposes Smith’s idea of capitalism. The topic has not only become a way to express populism by saying that capitalism will leave us in despair and other foolish cliché sayings but has also provided a foundation for other leftist viewpoints to be firmly anchored in the SDGs.
The exchange with the Netherlands and especially my one week stay in the Netherlands has made me aware of the dangers of too progressive societies. The topic of sustainable development had been accompanied by Trump mudslinging, gender inequality myths (the pay gap…), clear indoctrination, and non-critical evaluation. The headmaster’s welcoming speech had Trump described as a fool. It terrified me, how indoctrinated the Dutch students already were, and even more concerned about what it might do to my schoolmates. My exchange partner had zero capability to critically evaluate. When talking about Trump, he said he was an idiot providing no arguments. The situation I noticed in the Netherlands is a consequence of the term ideological subversion.
Ideological subversion is ,,to change the perception of reality of every citizen to such an extent that despite the abundance of information no one can come to sensible conclusions in the interest of defending themselves, their families, their community, and their country.’’ (Yuri Bezmenov) It is a special process that enables us to brainwash a nation. The Netherlands had succumbed to this process, which has by now become a cycle.
Everything started after world war II and the Warsaw pact under the Soviet Union. The Netherlands was on the west side of the iron curtain, that’s why the socialists did not have direct control of the country. But they did control it indirectly. The process started when the CPN (Communist Party of the Netherlands) party of the Netherlands got into the parliament in 1946. They were very popular among university students in the 60’s. That had a huge role, as the people later infected the next generation with the same ideology. The process had caused the universities and schools to be involved in the process of brainwashing as well, so the youth per se would be able to do the same, later in life. I can prove that the school we had the exchange with was very much involved in this treacherous activity. To prove it I have taken pictures of a class I stayed in when working on the project. It was filled with anti-America propaganda, known to be the most successful capitalist country.
As much as sustainable development is a topic we must regard as very important it has become a nest of dangerous viewpoints that proved and prove tremendous suffering. I think our school has to think beyond indoctrination and look at the harm they are doing. We are soon going to see the consequences of progressive indoctrination and it might be as dangerous as overlooking sustainability on the path towards human prosperity. Both lead to a complete collapse of our values and towards our departure, but we can evade both.
To conclude, sustainable development sadly does not represent what it ought to. It saddens me when I see where we are going. Sustainable development as looked on in the 60s with The Club of Rome is the only way our civilization can preserve itself.