What on Environment and Development, Our Common Future

 

                    

                                       

What
is sustainable development?

Economic
development that is conducted without depletion of natural resources is known
as sustainable development . Sustainable development  meets the needs of the present without
compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It
contains within it two key concepts:

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1)     
 The concept of ‘needs’, in particular, the
essential needs of the world’s poor, to which          overriding priority should be given;
and

2)     
 The idea of limitations imposed by the state
of technology and social organization on the environment’s ability to meet
present and future needs.”—World Commission on Environment and
Development, Our Common Future (1987)

Why do we need sustainable development?

The
growing population will inevitably mean an increased pressure on the
environment, culture, and society. The rise in living standards has many
positive effects, such as: better access to health care resulting in increase
in life expectancy and reduction in child and infant mortality; better access
to educational facilities, rising literacy and improving economic
opportunities; improved infrastructure; increased availability of consumer
goods; and increased access to modern media.

 

But,
at the same time, increased development, rising 
living standards, and increased consumption and production result in
increased pressure on the environment, threatening the long-term sustainability
of the earth’s life-support systems.

growing
population and development activities, especially in urban areas, reduce the
air quality in urban areas and lead to localised water pollution and land
pollution in the form of deforestation. Waste and environmental degradation can
also lead to increased poverty.

 

Education
as a Vehicle for Behavioral Change
 We need not focus only on formal education.
Especially in developing countries with relatively low enrolment in the formal
education system, a considerable proportion of the society  will not be reached. Therefore, specific
attention and focus have to be placed on non-formal education, as well as on
people who are illiterate.

 

The
Media as vehicle of Education for Sustainable Development

The
media plays a crucial role in educating and making individuals, communities,
and society conscious about sustainable development, the need for more
sustainable  patterns of production and
consumption, and encouraging them to take action directed towards change and a
more sustainable future. It is generally acknowledged that not scientists nor
politicians, but rather the common man is the most effective agent of change.
Once the civil society is familiar with the complex environment and development
related issues, it will gain the confidence to act appropriately, leading
towards sustainability.

 

Different types of Media:

Media refers to various means of communication
channels through which news, entertainment, education, data or promotional
messages are disseminated. Media includes every broadcasting and narrowcasting
medium such as Newspapers, Magazines, TV, Radio, Billboards, Direct mail,
Telephone, Mobiles, Fax and Internet. 
The various media vehicles could be broadly grouped under :

Print
Media
Newspapers, Magazines, Booklets and Brochures, House magazines, periodicals or
newsletters, Direct Mailers, Handbills or Flyers, Billboards, Press Releases,
Books
Electronic Media
Television and Radio
New Age Media
Mobile Phones, Computers, Internet

Non Media Unconventional media (Trolleys, laser shows, Message on animals, etc

 

Importance
of media in social awareness :
 The media has a vital role in
moulding a good society to develop our lifestyle and move it on the right
path, because it always tries to side with the truth and the relevant factor.
It is the best tool to spread awareness in the modern society whether it be
political, social or economic andto give us the latest sight about what is
happening in our world, making us aware about our rights, creating awareness
against evils in our society.   
There is a correlation between media and society as
they can  share the past, present and future events on
a need based method . We know
that a long time ago we saw all news,
views events through Radio, Banner and Cinema slide shows.
But nowadays  we have a power to see everything of  society and to share it among the people only
because of new types of media.

 

The
role of media has become one way of trading and marketing products and
prejudices. Media is in charge of : 1) Information, 2) education 3)
Entertainment, 4) advertising 5) Co relation of parts of society. Media has
immense value in identifying problems and challenges and making them a part of
social consciousness . This kind of exposure has done much to raise public
awareness about issues like climate change, food security and dwindling natural
resources . Media can therefore be a powerful agent of sustainable change.

 

Videos
made by women on issues that concern them have helped empower several women.

Internet
reaches policy makers worldwide; hence it can be instrumental in bringing about
a change. Ease of archiving, search ability and instant feedback facility  have made internet a popular media. Internet
has emerged as potential media for creating awareness and providing
information.

 

Media’s role in disaster management:

Media
has now started looking at the underlying causes of disasters like : ignoring
standards for building, importance of green belts and other such natural
barriers. It  also looks into dealing
with fear that follows disasters. Media plays an important role in fostering
debate, influencing public opinion and encouraging people to make changes, in
their hygiene behavior.

A
major point for understanding the role of the media in achieving a sustainable
society is that ESD does not only target those in the regular educational
system (i.e. school going children and adults attending non-formal education),
but the majority of the public. These people can most efficiently be reached
through all available mass media including newspapers and other printed media,
radio, television, and the internet.

The
International Council  for Science
(2002:9) also states that “encouragement should be given to the publication of
popular books and magazines, as well as theatrical presentations, radio and
television programmes and other forms of mass communication, intended to help
the public become sufficiently informed about the nature and impact of key
scientific and technical developments to participate effectively in debates
about them.” The mass media, especially the radio, are seen as the most
cost-effective way of providing information and a voice to all members of
society including the marginalised sections (Department of Information and
Media 2005). According to  the findings
of the International Conference on Education for a Sustainable Future (Centre
for Environmental Education 2005), the media has an important role in fostering
debate, influencing public opinion, and encouraging people to make behaviour
changes towards sustainability

How does media sustain a society :

Sustainable
development strives to achieve economic development that can be maintained well
into the future and for all human beings. In all   of these, a growth towards an information or
knowledge based society is envisaged in which there is ready access to
information, and freedom of speech, opinion, and expression, as well as freedom
of press, radio, television,

and
other forms of electronic dissemination of information , leading to sustainable
and equitable opportunities for growth and progress. The media in an information
society has the  role of informing the
general public of policies, developments, and current affairs especially those
affecting them directly. It also has to give the public the ability to make
their voice heard. The media is seen as a vital two-way tool, providing
information from the top to the masses at the grass-roots and allowing their
views, ideas, and opinions to filter back up to the policy makers. As it is
said, “Whoever controls the media controls the mind”

 

Thus
in order to achieve a sustainable society, behavioural change is necessary, and
for this change in behaviour the public should have sufficient access to
information, as well as an opportunity to freely express views and opinions.
Increased democratisation and decentralisation are supportive factors which
enable people to effectuate  behavioural
change through provision of information needed for consciousness-raising and
awareness-raising and through better communication with (and choice of) policy-makers
and decision-makers at all levels of  Government.

Water and sanitation messages using the
mass media:

Media
helps in providing rescue and relief efforts to people really needing
attention.

Print
media gives coverage to water and sanitation issues like Drought, epidemic, etc…

Lack
of water and sanitation facilities  and
the importance of conservation of water, 
also gets extensive coverage.

 

Media
reaches out to a larger community. For this programs have to be kept simple yet
educative, interactive and informative. While promoting these issues ground
realities must be kept in mind. Media can then serve as a great force in
building the nation.

 

 

 

 

Knowing
the target:    It is very important to define and understand
the audience and to come up with appropriate strategies to reach the targets.  Each and every audience as a different set of
values, biases, and conceptions as well as hopes and aspirations for the future
and as such, the products should be aligned with those in order to fulfill the
desired goals and objectives. With a largely rural  Population, the media should pay more
attention to rural problems, views and challenges and increase access to the
media for rural leaders and populations,

 

Coming
to a synergy between audio-visual, audio, and written media :   Too often these three forms of media are
treated in isolation whereas they can actually complement each other and
strengthen each other. Messages conveyed in one form of media can be repeated
in other forms, thus reaffirming, reinforcing and strengthening the effect of
the message among the audience.

 

Conclusion

For
achieving a sustainable future, a path of sustainable development is necessary.
This path of sustainable development would lead to a sustainable society, thus
maximizing economic and social development while at the same time conserving
the resources of the earth. To move from unsustainable to sustainable
practices, a change in the behavior of individuals, communities, and the
society as a whole is necessary. This change in behavior can be supported and
influenced through Education for Sustainable Development and participation of
the citizens. A vigorous free and independent media therefore can be a powerful
agent for a sustainable change.

 

Dr Marie Anne D’cruze

Co ordinator

Deptt.
Of English

St. Xavier’s College, Patna

References:

1)     
www.ceeindia.org/esf/wk15.asp

2)     
www.eolss.net

3)     
Role of the
media in achieving a sustainable society- Tim Bodt

4)     
www.unescap.org/events/media-symposium-role-media-achieving

5)     
www.un.org/press/en/2002/ENVDEV619.doc.htm

6)     
Mass Media in
support of sustainable development – Prof. S Melkote – Journalism and Mass
communication – Vol. II

7)     
The information
society and sustainable development. Exploring the linkages –Terri

Willard and
Michael halder- www.iisd.org/

8)     
www.bhutanstudies.org.bt/../M-21.pdf

9)     
UNESCO (1998) Environment and
Society: Education and Public  awareness for  Sustainability (Proceedings of the Thessaliniki  International Conference), Paris UNESCO

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