Proponents of Sustainable Development Argue That…(See Full Answer)

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Carbon Offsets Credits | November 10, 2023

Man watering a plant near a woman picking apples from an apple tree ponder why proponents of sustainable development argue that there are 6 principles of sustainability.

Proponents of sustainable development argue that it is an approach that addresses both the environmental and social problems that humanity faces.

“Sustainability” was partially defined as an economy “in balance with core ecological support systems” as early as the 1970s. In the past, sustainable development was often dissected into three parts: ecological sustainability, economic sustainability, and political/social sustainability.

It is widely agreed that Green Development, in contrast to Sustainable Development,1 places a greater emphasis on environmental sustainability than on social or cultural factors. In cases when state-of-the-art Green Development is not feasible, proponents of Sustainable Development say that it offers a setting for improving overall sustainability.

One method to get to Sustainable Development is to promote inclusive green development. It’s the only way to alleviate poverty for the almost a billion people worldwide who still live in extreme poverty while meeting the essential need for a cleaner global environment, proponents argue.

Proponents of Devolution Argue That the Authority of State Governments Should Be Expanded

Many experts and lawmakers have concluded in recent years that the federal government has become too big and strong, interfering in matters that should be handled at the state and local levels.

They have used this reasoning to push for less money from Washington, a shift from matching to block grants, more leeway for states to design and administer their versions of federally supported programs, and less rules from above.

In common parlance, their plan is known as “devolution,” shorthand for transferring power from the federal to state and local governments. The dispute about the best form of governance for the country is as ancient as the nation itself, and devolution has just added to the existing disagreement.

Proponents of Social Justice Believe That Environmental and Social Problems Will Decrease if Resources Are Distributed Fairly

Although there is no agreed-upon definition of social justice, most perspectives aim to promote tolerance and equity. They laid forth ethical guidelines for a fair society to help get us there.

Proponents of social justice argue that it’s essential to work toward it because it protects individuals from being disadvantaged due to discrimination and inequality and ensures everyone has access to necessities.

Equitable treatment is predicated on fair results. It’s connected to the idea that people’s life outcomes are profoundly impacted by their social and economic circumstances and that a more equitable social order would consider these factors.

Those who advocate for social justice seek a more equitable distribution of society’s material goods and opportunities. Social justice activists work for a fairer society by rectifying past wrongs and empowering marginalized groups.

What Are the 6 Principles of Sustainability?

Proponents of sustainable development maintain that there are 6 principles of sustainability, these include:

1. A Circular Economy

The goal of the circular economy is to lessen the burden on finite resources by reducing the amount of trash thrown away. We can save a lot of money and resources by avoiding and reducing waste throughout a product’s lifespan and recovering useful components for reuse.

2. Conserving Energy (Energy Conservation)

LEDs and other technologies like intelligent controls and cutting-edge optics allow for more efficient and effective lighting while reducing waste and resource use. This involves minimizing waste and maximizing efficiency in manufacturing to guarantee there is no overage.

3. Alternatives to Nonrenewable Resources

We choose materials that will hold up better in salty, coastal conditions without sacrificing performance.

4. Continuous Efforts in the Areas of Study and Development

The key is to keep improving on past successes to provide cutting-edge tech,2 dependable support, and affordable rates to all of our customers.

5. Environmental Product Reporting (EPD)

As a result, we may learn more about the materials and components utilized in a product’s production and the effects those materials and components have on the Environment across their entire life cycles. Furthermore, they discuss the product’s valuable and technological characteristics and eventual demise.

6. Taking Corporate Responsibility for Social Issues

Nowadays, companies take an active role in social responsibility. And while some people argue that it is not the place of private business to dictate the cultural mores of the time, proponents of sustainable development argue that this aspect greatly influences the public’s impression of a corporation.

What Are the Arguments for and Against Sustainable Development?

Change occurs when governments, businesses, and citizens pool their resources and dedication to achieve a common goal. When this happens, people can lift themselves and their families out of poverty, children are shielded from preventable diseases, girls choose education over marriage, and so much more. Here are arguments for sustainable development;

Argument 1. Increasing Numbers of Infants Are Making It to Adulthood

Child fatalities fell by approximately 50% from 2000. Millions of youngsters not previously protected from avoidable illnesses received immunizations and health services because of a global effort. Deaths among children have decreased dramatically, from 9.8 million in 1990 to 5.4 million in 2015. We must continue our efforts until every kid has access to enough food, medical care, clean water, and education.

Argument 2. By Working Together, We Can Eradicate Poverty

Proponents of sustainable development argue that ten percent of people worldwide now live in absolute poverty. Between 1990 and 2015, the global population in extreme poverty fell from 36% to 10%. However, development is slowing, and more than 700 million people live on less than $1.90 a day, which shouldn’t exist in a society with so much riches; thus, we must increase our efforts.

Argument 3. Almost Nine Out of Ten Individuals Today Have Access to Modern Energy

Okay, let us get this done. Most of the world’s population now has access to electricity, allowing them to do things like study late at night, cook, and operate enterprises. While we’ve made great strides, there’s still much more to be done to help the 840 million people who still don’t have access to electricity and the over 3 billion who use outdated, polluting, and often dangerous cooking methods.

Also, Some Arguments Against Sustainable Development Claim That:

  • The Idea Of Sustainability Disregards The Inherent Variety Of Human Interests

The ‘lifeboat’ narrative, which asserts that we are all in the same boat to struggle for humanity’s survival, has profoundly impacted the discourse around global environmental change,4 especially the concept of sustainable development. It’s not like we are all swimming together. To use a metaphor, some of us are sailing on luxurious ships equipped with radar navigation, while others are clinging to a plank of wood in a stormy sea, with only a limited view of what lies ahead

A raft floating on calm waters with a mountain and forest trees in a distance.

(Image: Judith Scharnowski5)

  • Human Activities Cannot Be Made More Sustainable Through Moralizing

People who care about the Environment frequently say that unsustainable development is the consequence of corruption in the economic, social, and political systems. If only those human flaws and evils could be remedied, humanity and the natural world might live in peace.

Who Was the Proponent of Sustainable Development?

Barbara Ward was a leading economist, writer, and speaker who established the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). She was an early proponent of sustainable development and its necessary pillars; her ideas continue to guide IIED’s efforts today.

What Does the Sustainable Development Theory Mean?

Sustainable development theory is based on the assumption that present societies must provide for their members’ needs without jeopardizing the capacity of future generations to do the same. More precisely, sustainable development is a method of social organization that ensures human civilization will endure over the long haul. This necessitates considering potential consequences, such as the need to protect the planet’s natural resources and promote economic and social justice.

A wide shot of a part of a forest with a lot of trees cut down to give way to urbanization without regard for sustainability.

(Image: ChadoNihi6)

The idea may be traced back to the beginnings of the industrial revolution. It wasn’t until the latter part of the nineteenth century that Western civilizations realized their commercial and industrial activities significantly influenced the natural world and the social equilibrium. Several global ecological and social problems brought a greater realization of the need for a more sustainable paradigm.

Name the Main Principles of Sustainable Development?

Proponents of sustainable development argue that the primary principles of sustainable development include;

  • The protection and preservation of natural systems and habitats.
  • Protection of Earth’s biological diversity
  • Improvements to the community that won’t harm the Environment
  • Minimizing waste through efficient use of personnel
  • Limiting and regulating the human population

Name the 4 Components of Sustainable Development?

  • Environmental Sustainability

Sustainable development is an approach to environmental protection that prioritizes people’s happiness. A project or program may be considered environmentally sustainable if it meets the current requirements without compromising those of future generations.

  • Social Sustainability

Social sustainability aims to maintain social capital by providing investments and new social services. The idea may include broader perspectives on civilization, culture, and globalization. Cohesion, reciprocity, honesty, and the value of connections are central to the idea of social sustainability, which aims to preserve and improve social quality. Laws, knowledge, and commonly held ideals of equality and rights may help foster and sustain it.

  • Human Sustainability

The goal of human sustainability is to preserve and improve the caliber of local human resources.3 When we talk about human endurance, we are talking about a wide variety of efforts to better people’s lives in areas like wellness and education, service access, food security, and knowledge acquisition. Due to limited land and material resources, sustainable development must prioritize universal access to improved health and economic opportunity.

  • Economic Sustainability

Sustainable economics prioritizes preserving resources. In the same way that social sustainability works to increase fairness, economic sustainability seeks to raise living standards for everybody. It is the practice of managing a company’s resources to maximize its return on investment over time.

Why Do Proponents of Sustainable Development Argue That Development Can Proceed With Minimal Costs to the Environment

Sustainability in development refers to a way of living that does not destroy the natural world. Unfortunately, there is no one, all-encompassing definition of sustainable development. Therefore, it has come to include many different ideas.

Furthermore, the term’s detractors point out that it perpetuates an anthropocentric (human-centred) perspective that places human needs above everything else and views nature as a means to an end. They also highlight the capitalist worldview embedded within it, which holds that material consumption is essential to improving human well-being.

Critics of Sustainable Development Claim It Is Boring, Vague, and Late To Address World’s Problem

Proponents of sustainable development argue that our job is to build a society that can last forever and provides its people with complete happiness. The growing popularity of eco-friendly ideas is not without its detractors. As the concept has spread, so have the number and volume of its critics.

Low-angle shot of tall Pine trees showing large trunks and wide canopies.

(Image: Alexandra_Koch7)

First, many think the idea is not captivating enough to motivate the human resource mobilization needed to deal with the present problem. They say sustainability is ‘too dull’ to encourage the necessary shift. Many would rather see the term “thriving,” “plenty,” or something else entirely substituted in its place.

Similarly, some people consider the idea to be “too broad” or “ill-defined” to be practical because of how it is often used, without due care for the Environment’s safety or integrity. They argue that sustainability may be twisted to facilitate “greenwashing”, in which a firm makes false or exaggerated claims about its environmental or social responsibility practices.

Some people also think the future of humanity on Earth is so bleak that they must abandon the whole concept of anything being sustainable. They argue that the idea of sustainability is ineffective at this time because of the increasing reality of climate disruption and that we should instead be talking about “surviving, not prospering.” It has been argued that resilience should be prioritized above sustainability.

Most Environmental Problems Result From Complex, Interrelated Problems

The environmental difficulties we face today are not only intricate and interconnected among themselves but also with social and economic problems. Reduced poverty, enhanced health, more accessible access to renewable energy, and increased prosperity are just a few ways environmental variables have contributed to better human well-being.

Environmental Science Methods Include All of the Following, But…

…the solutions to one issue may cause other, more serious environmental, social, or economy problems. Increasing food production in methods that degrade soils, squander water, kill pollinators, and exacerbate desertification and deforestation, for instance, would be self-limiting.

How Does Sustainable Development Differ From Traditional Economic Development

Sustainable development may be thought of as progress that provides for today’s residents without sacrificing the quality of life for those who will inherit the Earth in the future. It’s a way to ensure that progress can be maintained for the foreseeable future. The next generation will have as much opportunity for success as we have now because of this.

Humanity should not welcome the benefits of economic growth. The environmental costs are considerable because of increased pollution and resource depletion, but the economic benefits of the increased national production of products and services are undeniable.

Deforestation, land degradation, soil erosion, and air and water pollution are some environmental costs associated with economic growth that might outweigh the advantages of increased productivity in the long run. Greenhouse effects, bad weather, irregular monsoons, global warming, and acid rain are all consequences of environmental damage.

Proponents of sustainable development argue that the fundamental concern is sustaining economic growth while protecting the natural Environment.


1Bridger, J. C., & Luloff, A.E. (2022). Sustainable Community Development: An Interactional Perspective. Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education. Retrieved September 28, 2022, from <>

2Government of the United Kingdom. (2022). Guiding Principles for Sustainable Development. Guiding Principles for SD. Retrieved September 28, 2022, from <>

3NASA Earth Data. (2022). People, Planet, and Prosperity…. Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved September 28, 2022, from <>

4Rodriguez-Dono, A., & Hernández-Fernández, A. (2022). Fostering Sustainability and Critical Thinking Through Debate—A Case Study. Sustainability. Retrieved September 28, 2022, from <>

5Photo by Judith Scharnowski. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>

6Photo by ChadoNihi. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>

7Photo by Alexandra_Koch. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>