Before it’s too late

by A.Diodato on December 2, 2015 - 2:08pm

The guardian claims that sustainable development is a vague terminology being bent like a rubber band. At the moment cities are taking resources from outskirts and giving nothing back.  Natural resources continue to diminish because of cities’ increased energy and resource consumption. “Over 400 million people in Africa currently live in urban areas, a number that will triple by 2050.” This is happening because of increased hope and luxuries being found in cities, wars and conflicts driving people out of the outskirts and natural disasters created by the overconsumption of natural resources. Urbanisation is surpassing our ability to sustainably develop. The urbanisation and disregard for resource regeneration has caused issues such as climate change and losses of agricultural needs and resources.  However the guardian believe it’s not too late to create a solution to ensure our needs and the needs of the future our met. This solution is urban development. Urban areas must be developed in manner that creates resource efficiency and low carbon emissions. Because of the increasing numbers in our urban populations cities must become self reliant and improve rather than sustain our ecosystems. In order to create these changes the guardian believes a radical change in policies, and actions must be implemented on a public and private level. It takes a combined global effort form everyone on al levels to create this kind of change. An additional benefit to implementing these ideas in the Southern countries are that existing infrastructure will not be a major but new infrastructures can be created with these ideas. Which could allow those countries to leapfrog already established industrialised countries.

This generation cannot depend on sustaining flawed infrastructures and policies. We already have the technology to implement the social chance needed to create sustainable urban development. Our governments need to do what is required to create more energy efficient infrastructures and systems. Instead of being influenced by the heads of companies making profits from fossil fuels, governments can focus on meeting energy needs from combined energy efficient systems such as solar, geothermal, hydro and wind energy. An initiative to put solar panels on the roofing of the majority infrastructures could significantly decrease our dependence on natural resources from outskirts. The projected increase in Africa is not an anomaly, without radical efforts and changes in beliefs sustainable development will not be possible and our future generations will be left with nothing.


Your opinion sounds promising. I can see the benefit behind adequate urban development mechanisms, and the jump straight to systems that use renewable energy and low carbon solutions.
However, due to the inability to build up urban areas quickly enough to answer for the demand, many slum settlements surround the outskirts of cities. Often these settlements are larger than the city itself, and when the city does try to expand into these areas, conflicts between both parties arise. The slum settlements also exhibit poor infrastructure, living conditions and sanitation.
Considering this issue, what do you think would be the solution to areas where development is needed, but slum settlements have been constructed?

I enjoyed reading your response to this article. I agree with you in many aspects, and think that steps need to be taken as soon as possible in order to guarantee a sustainable future. The fact of the matter is that developing countries like Africa, whose population is increasing so rapidly, do not have the resources needed to use their resources responsibly, as well as ensure that they are not exploited.
Along with this, they do not have the resources needed to quickly develop their urban areas in order to accommodate the increasing population. But if the population continues to rise, we cannot afford to wait to establish these urban areas and policies. The question now is, for countries who cannot create these areas due to lack of money and resources, how will they be created? Is it the responsibility of outside sources? Developed countries?

I agree with you that we need to get out of our dependencies on carbon and make changes to policies that will get us in that direction. You stated that the technology is here, and I agree, the problem is that oil is so cheap there seems to be no one willing to make the jump to renewable, and suffer the short term loss for the long term gain. I have hope that we are going to do something about it but we need some leaders to take the first step in before we're in to deep. I think that urban development is a great place to start. Ex. there is so much unused rooftops that could be developed into solar power. I think that we're going to need to change our conventional ways and think about how we can get the most out of the space we are taking up.
Here's a video of Tesla's CEO Elon Musk talking about some technology that i think can get us in the right direction.

Urban development really is an interesting solution. At one end of the spectrum I agree with you and believe that urban development is the key to counter our rising population and adverse environmental impacts. However, as the previous commenter mentioned, more often than not large slums tend to built up around the city, sometimes even larger than the actual cities themselves. Case and point are large cities in India such as New Delhi or Mumbai, in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Jakarta in Bangladesh and the list goes on. However, as you stated in your post, "The urbanisation and disregard for resource regeneration has caused issues such as climate change and losses of agricultural needs and resources" which I think is a great point. This statement re-enforces the fact that if urbanisation occurs too quickly slums are created that sort of contradict the point of government's supporting urban development in the first place. I think we can both agree that if sustainable development is supported in much of the planet, that we can see successful urban growth. The only question is how to do this in a timely manner. Any suggestions?

I strongly agree that this generation cannot depend on this sustainable infrastructures and policies. We need to develop new policies and infrastructures that will fit with our generation since we rely more on technology. I also agree that our government has to put more energy efficient infrastructures and systems since now we know the effects of fossil fuels and global warming. Good job on the great post.


Hello, after reading the article you have submitted I have to agree with your ideology. We should really be getting rid of our dependency on carbon if we want to have a sustainable environment. As many of the previous people who have commented said, it will be really hard to reduce the use of carbon due to how cheap it is and how convenient it is for not only people in 1st word countries, but everyone around the word. As much as I agree with you, I just cannot see it happening anytime soon due to the fact that there are still some countries that need to develop.

I completely agree with you idea that we need to radically change the way we use energy to become sustainable. If we don't change these things now then when will we start? I think that these are the first of many steps that need to be taken to be able to be a carbon free or low-carbon society. Even though there are many more steps to be taken to make society sustainable like completely rebuilding the infrastructure and re organizing the way cities are make up. There are many steps to be made but i agree with you that the things you listed like solar energy and wind energy are the first step.

Having coincidentally assessed the same article, I have to say that I agree with you. Cities nowadays are not built for the future and this has to change for future generations to be able to live properly. Regenerative urban development will enable cities to actually contribute to the wellness of the ecosystems. In addition, this development is quite easy to make since the infrastructures which are already in place do not need to be destroyed in order to proceed. Now the only issue is whether the private and public sectors will be able to work together make make this development happen.

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