Not many people are aware of the fact that United Nations (UN) declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity. Putting forward the motto “Biodiversity is Life,” organizations over the world are celebrating this year with such programs as exhibitions and campaigns. Although the Korean government was slightly slow in catching up with this global trend, there are many organizations and events.
Safeguarding the biodiversity is a part of sustainability. The term sustainability was found in Brundtland Commission of the UN on March 20, 1987. The definition says that sustainability is development that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This term can be applied to almost every aspect of life that includes not only ecology, but also agriculture, forestry, designs, and more. Also, according to the Earth Charter, it can be applied to wherever people respect nature, human rights, economic justice, and culture of peace.
Necessity of sustainability has been raised several decades ago. In his well-known book Small is Beautiful, published in 1973, E.H Schmacher claimed that people treat the environment as if it were their income, when actually it is capital. People have the right to use up their income whenever they want to but it is an irrational decision to maximize capital, since it will minimize economic profit. Even though this notion that imprudent development will eventually threaten all living things is not a new idea, many people are still unaware of the significance of this matter.
While some people are indifferent to sustainability, some are cynical towards it. Will it make any difference if someone acts? Two French men tried to prove this point, and succeeded. Sylvain Darnil and Mathieu Le Roux travelled around the world for years, looking for ordinary people who realized that sustainability is a serious issue and carried out their own way. They were entrepreneurs who succeeded in achieving their goals and making profits. Numerous cases of unbelievable yet true stories are introduced in Darnil and Le Roux’s book, 80 Hommes Pour Changer Le Monde. Doctors treated patients with affordable price and banks provided low interest loans to the destitute and helped them escape from extreme poverty.
The definition of sustainability sets people around the world to act locally and globally. It can be positive, since everyone can work in their own fields, while caring about sustainability. Rather than arguing whether it is possible or not, changing our perspective is needed. The UN proclaims that caring about the biodiversity is now vital for future and current human wellbeing. We are not free from the consequences of climate change and destroyed biodiversity anymore. We need to act, instantly.