Challenges of sustainable development in 2018

Updated: Sep 10, 2018

Globally, the pace of sustainable development initiatives is still picking up. International and regional government bodies are yet to embrace the 17 sustainable development goals set by the United Nations. Although many commercial and non-commercial institutions are coming up with innovations in the field of sustainable technology, there a many deterrents to sustainable technology practices.

In the aftermath of global warming and depletion of conventional energy resources, widespread acceptance and usage of sustainable technology is the only way out. Each one of us shoulders the responsibility of conserving the environment for ourselves and the future generations. But, the question is - are we really there yet? Are we, as global citizens, doing our bit to promote sustainable development practices?

Access to affordable and clean energy and creating sustainable cities are goals listed in the UN sustainable development goals, however, we are still far away from achieving them. At ThinkPhi, we’re constantly involved in an endeavor to make this world a better place to live in. We believe that building innovative and functional solutions that lead with good design can be a strong enabler to the adoption of a sustainable lifestyle. The obstacles are plenty but a few mission driven companies are at the forefront of changing the way people look at Sustainability.

Ideally, sustainable development should be inclusive, ambitious, action-oriented, collaborative, and adaptive at various levels. However, there are numerous challenges to sustainable development in 2018, which we must understand before we stead forward with the goal of sustainable development.

Major Challenges Of Sustainable Development

Disparities in income hindering sustainable innovation

One of the biggest obstacles to everlasting development is income inequality within and among many countries. The United Nations Development Programme estimates that nearly 10 percent of the people in the world are earning up to 40 percent of the total global income. In fact, disparities in income have reached such a level that the resulting situation has invoked heightened tension and social conflict around the world. Amidst such economic and social challenges, it has not been easy to focus on innovations in the field of green technology.

Income inequality can considerably affect national decision-making. The rich often have the power to alter national policy in their favor. This might lead to policies and regulations that favor accelerated economic growth over environmental conservation. This, in turn, may lead to more pollution in the society than there would be in an equal society. Take fossil fuels for example, they are still the largest contributors to climate change but big oil companies can still lobby governments to ignore the environmental degradation in lieu of rapid economic development. Sustainable energy from solar, wind, hydro and the like are yet to become a major part of the energy portfolio which can help in nation building. Germany is leading the way towards changing this where they have a target to migrate the country to using 80% renewable energy by 2025. They have explored combinations of solar, wind, and hydro in a single power plant. In this model, water is pumped underground to turn a turbine that acts as a storage device when the demand is low.

Sustainable technology initiatives are yet to become mainstream

The key to sustainable development is the amalgamation of environment policy with strategy to come up with new forms of green technology. But, seldom do green initiatives become mainstream. One of the most common reasons for this is lack of awareness about sustainable technology practices. On the one hand, there is a lack of environmental consciousness in people and on the other, there lies the challenge of green products being easily accessible.

While people are aware about issues such as depletion of natural resources and global warming, hardly a few are consciously involved in seeking out solutions. The challenge of accessibility is the result of various factors linked to each other. These include a lack of awareness about sustainable products combined with socio-economic factors. Now, take for example, our answer to sustainable technology – the eco-friendly car parking shade. This product is an aesthetically appealing, yet a uniquely designed, eco-friendly umbrella. Called the Model 1080 after the geometrical angles of the structure, it not only provides shade but also enables rainwater harvesting and generates solar energy during the dry period.

Financing sustainable technology

In 2008, the world was mired by the global economic crisis, the biggest one after the Great Depression. It threatened many countries with issues such as poverty, hunger, and disease. To add to that, the ever increasing inflation rate has only deteriorated the financial strength of economies across the world. Amidst such pressing financial issues, leaders like the US President Trump has reduced deploying time, energy, and resources towards green initiatives.

Whenever there are global summits to enforce and encourage governments to employ environment sustainability practices, national representatives give their nod. But, when it comes to local governments in developing nations, environment sustainability often takes a backseat due to several other important factors. Their agenda is focused on allocating funds for various infrastructural projects and dealing with core issues at hand. There is a positive shift which is has been building and where solar, wind and renewables technologies are getting access to huge funds to build operational models where they can sell the power back to consumers who need it. The basic premise here is that over time renewable technology like solar, battery storage, etc. is becoming cheaper while conventional resources like oil is still supply driven and prices keep increasing.

Reluctance to break old patterns

One of the most important requirements for any development to happen is the willingness to change. Ensuring sustainable development means establishing economic growth without compromising on environmental stability. To achieve this, people at various levels need to bring about profound changes in their consumption and production patterns and energy use through legislation, regulation, and public policies. There’s a need for governments and corporations to actively work together to create and implement eco-social policies that would effectively strike a balance between economic growth and environment conservation. Innovations, such as the ‘smart canopy’ act like amplifiers for governments and companies to showcase their larger mission towards sustainability.

Lack of Cost-Effective and Efficient Energy Storage

Sustainable technology has come a long way from 2000s. We are tapping into solar, hydro, and wind power much more efficiently. However, storing this abundantly available resource is turning out to be a challenge. Current energy storage systems are plagued with issues in fluctuations of the power output, resource adequacy, and portably of energy storage devices. One of the biggest obstacles to the adoption of electric cars is cost-effective and efficient energy storage. This is limiting the sustainable technology applications.

The only way to get past these challenges is to relentlessly confront them one by one. At ThinkPhi, we are driven by our vision to conserve natural resources and become a trend setter for startup companies to take on the role of building a sustainable future through innovation. We constantly strive to explore new avenues to combat the challenges of sustainable development and passionately work towards our next big product launch. As a result of our endless creative endeavors we offer aesthetically superior, innovative products that most importantly serve the purpose of environment conservation.

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