The biggest global trend we have witnessed for the last 10 years is without a doubt, the issue of the climate change and the urbanization. ‘Going Green’ or ‘Sustainable-’ has been the most talked about thing for the last couple of years and attentions requested to save the world is now important than never before. With the rapid population growth in developing countries and 4th industrialization in developed countries, the world is facing another level of the new threat in the history of humankind. According to the Brundtland report in 1987, the term ‘sustainability’ means environment, economic and social development that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In the philosophy and the social consideration, ‘sustainability’ focuses more on the issue of conservation and improvement of the environment. There has been a concern about preserving nature throughout the human history, but the real concern regarding the modern environmental movement began during the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century. Now, it is with the paradigm changes of the new technology.
Beginning from that period to today, for less than 200 years humans have harmed the environment with the enormous amount of pollution more than ever (UNFCCC,2017). The development of industry and technology may have borough conveniences to a life of the human, but on the other hand, brought the human conquer of nature. There has been a wide spread of environmental movement during the last century, including from may other international organization such as ICLEI, GCF, GGGI and of course the CityNet. Although a tremendous amount of money and supports have been discussed among them, the speaking of the danger of global warming all around the world need even greater cooperations and cares to meet the decent level of sustainability (GCF,2017). There also are thousands of small individuals organizations regionally doing the small things to save our planet, like Oxfam, CARE, World Vision, and many other NGOs. For the better result, each country and other international organizations’ strong build of ownership and capacity building cannot be left out separately and need to foster a strong engagement with the compliment. Therefore, first and foremost the role of the CityNet, as a connect actor and the arbitrator of the regional governments, make a great contribution to the world’s sustainable and resilient cities.
In general terms, environmentalists advocate the sustainable management of resources, and the protection of the natural environment through changes in the public policy and individual behaviors. Normally, this movement is regarded more a liberal approach, looking toward legislative government intervention to prevent the destruction of the environment. However, through the years, there has also been a conservative movement toward environment called ‘Free Market Environmentalism.’ Free Market Environmentalism is a theory that argues that the free market, property rights, and tort law provided the best tools to preserve the health and substantiality of the environment (Anderson,1991). Ironically, most of this activities are held in the place of the life of the human, as we all know without saying, the city. Henceforth the appearance of the city with the catastrophe of nature and the greed of human, the pace of the urbanization increase immensely. The only human has the key to solve this issue.
The problem of urbanization and the right to live in the clean environment are not anymore for a hardcore environmentalist issue. People who live in developing and developed countries both consider preventing more damages to nature. It is true that we cannot talk environment concerns without talking the money. These days it costs more to be a real environmentalist. If then, how should we make our world more green and sustainable when pursuing the life of environmentalism sounds the only privilege for the people who have the resources and abilities? Some may argue that making environmental behavior or giving an immediate aid will raise aid dependency and diminish self-reliance of the recipient. Often, it is radically described this action as a pouring water into a broken jug. Sometimes things are not so tangible at the right moment, but I trust the effort which has been put together will create a result for something in the end as a person who currently works in the international cooperation field. Indirect and direct response to each city can make a change and global response to the environmental disaster and long-term urban challenges.
Although it is minor individual activities, I do consider myself an environmental person and I do believe the current environmental issue is a big thing and more people need to get involved and practiced in the eco-friendly life. I do not see it as a conflict or a political battle between different ideas. Although the development of industries and advanced of technologies might have borough harm to nature, in a different perspective it has brought more of good as well. For instance, the rivers and lakes are now much more clean by the technology than it was 100 years ago. It is not a fight, it is our friend we are dealing with and the biggest friend to human is out nature. I think the death of Earth, and all the pessimistic analogy regarding the planet’s future is too overblown. I see the positive attributions that people are making to the environment, and with that change of smaller things by more and more people, I see our environment becoming healthier in the futures.
Anderson, Terry Lee. 1946. “Free market environmentalism” Westview Press, 1991.
By Rose Y. Shim
Rose Y. Shim received Political Science Bachelor’s at UC Berkeley and currently studying Urban Planning at Seoul National University, Graduate School of Environmental Studies. Her interest area is sustainable development and international cooperation in developing countries. Rose has work experience as a researcher with the start of her master’s program, and was mainly in charge of city’s rejuvination and the unification of Korea.