Driving values for sustainable development

Written by
Dr Ayub Macharia

Caring for the earth
According to IUCN et al. 1991, there are nine principles that should form the ethical platform of sustainable living. These principles fall within two broad categories or aims, that is, maintaining ecological sustainability and promoting social justice. These principles are
Aim: Maintaining ecological sustainability – linking people and nature
* respect and care for the community of life
* conserving the vitality and diversity of the earth
* minimising the exhaustion of non-renewable resources
* keeping within the carrying capacity of the earth
Aim: Promoting social justice – linking people and people
* improving the quality of human life
* changing personal attitudes and practices
* enabling communities to care for their own environments
* forming a national framework for the integration of development and conservation
* forming a world alliance to implement sustainability on a global scale.
Most of these principles, values and duties were noted to be alive in the cultural and religious practices in most parts of the world (IUCN et al. 1991:12). Similar sentiments had also been raised in many UN conferences since the early 1970’s when environmental concerns were publicised. So, the principles were more or less an effort to consolidate what was happening and had been documented in the global arena.
The Kenyan ESD Implementation Strategy identifies the following underlying values of sustainable development (NEMA 2008).
* Respect for dignity and human rights of all people throughout the world
* commitment to social and economic justice for all;
* Respect for the human rights of future generations and a commitment to intergenerational responsibility;
* Respect and care for the greater community of life in all its diversity which involves the protection and restoration of Earth’s ecosystems;
* Respect for cultural diversity and a commitment to build locally and globally a culture of tolerance, non-violence and peace
Typology of values
Explain the following regarding your local community

  • What sustainable development values are promoted within their culture, religious beliefs and practices?
  • Are there any challenges influencing sustainability of the values mentioned above?

Ndaruga A.M. (2015) Education for Sustainable Development Explained. Manilla Publishers, Nairobi

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