It’s social: decisions we take today will impact our future lifestyles

Some scientists believe that the climate is close to a “tipping point”: a moment when acting - or failing to act - will change the Earth’s system so that it cannot return to its previous conditions. What do social issues have to do with this? A lot: society is where decisions and actions are enabled or prevented.

What do social issues have to do with the environment and sustainable development?

Sustainable development (SD) can only be promoted in societies enabling:

  • transparency
  • full and equal expression of opinion
  • free debate
  • appropriate policy formulation...

This is why governance, well-being and equity are key assets, if we are to make a change.

Every part of society is concerned

  • Governing change: SD requires commitment at all levels, from policy-makers to citizens.
  • Human rights: people must be able to assert their right to live in a sustainable environment.
  • Peace: without peace, no model of development is possible.
  • Gender equality: women’s participation is crucial for balanced and relevant education for SD. It is also our best chance to change behaviours in the next generation!
  • Health: health is a pre-condition for any development. In particular, the HIV and AIDS epidemic can reverse SD and educational gains. 

We are all concerned by these issues

Our participation in society has an impact! But SD is also about changing our personal behaviours and lifestyles… It is thus closely related to culture.

Read more on “It’s cultural” 


A living example: the city of Malmö

This Swedish town commits to implementing Agenda 21 and takes part in the European Sustainable Cities and Towns Campaign.

The town has engaged in a participatory approach to improve its:

  • waste management
  • energy consumption and efficiency
  • design of the outdoor environment to create a greener city

Read more on the city’s web site 



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