Monday, 16 January 2012

Sustainable - what does it actually mean?

The Welsh Government is one few in the World that has a legal obligation to pursue "sustainable development" and it underpins all its policies. This has many benefits, but also many drawbacks.

As Grangetown Jack posted recently, one of the areas successive Welsh Government's can point to considerable progress in is the environment – in particular waste management. The recent push by Environment Minister John Griffiths (Lab, Newport East) to get Wales over the 50% recycled waste mark should be applauded by everyone across the political spectrum. Wales is genuinely leading the way in recycling – credit should be shared between Sue Essex, Carwyn Jones (previous Environment Ministers) but in particular Jane Davidson.

John Griffiths looks as though he's making the right noises too, sticking with an ambitious target of 70% of waste recycled by 2025 and a "zero waste Wales" by 2050. Also a new Sustainable Development Bill and national body are proposed in the next few years.

In Wales "sustainable" is becoming a very funny word. It appears to mean many different things to different people.

"Taking out as much as you put back."

"Self-perpetuation with minimal impact to the environment."

"Good stewardship of the planet."

In recent times it appears "sustainable" has expanded to include proposals and schemes such as :
Do we want sustainable development to mean responsible stewardship? Or do we want it to become a buzzword put on planning applications to inflate the egos of elected officials and grease "un-green" proposals through?

Carwyn, John - please don't mess this up.


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