The concept of sustainable development
since its first application by Hans Carl von Carilowitz has not changed much
when compared with the current meaning of it. Hans referred the term
‘sustainable development’ because of the complication of the shortage of timber
during his time and called for the forests to be conserved. By sustainability,
he meant to express the idea of conserving the forests by sowing & planting
trees and seek ‘surrogate’ or alternative to wood, he also explained that
people should only harvest as much wood as could regrow, without exploiting the
forest. Carlowitz suggested nachhaltende Nutzung (sustainable
use) of forest resources, which implied maintaining a balance between
harvesting old trees and ensuring that there were enough young trees to replace
them. The idea behind the concept of sustainability as per Han’s perspective is
similar to the definition of sustainable development nowadays. In the 18th century,
during the industrial revolution, there was a concern of growing population and
its consequences for the consumption of resources. At this time, consumption of
wood as fuel and constructional material was at its peak and it was used in
almost all production processes. At the end of 18th century,
due to the massive consumption of wood for
ship-building, mining and many other purposes, a shortage of wood became a very
real danger in various part of the world, especially in Europe. This lead to a
fear among people that such a shortage of resources would eventually threaten
the basis of people’s existence but it resulted in a new way of thinking among
people in favour of the responsible use of natural resources in the interest of
present and future generation, which is very much similar to the definition of
sustainable development used nowadays. And the similar situation was seen in
the 19th century when the focus shifted to coal as the most important source of
energy and alarms were raised that coal deposits may get exhausted if there is
no control on the pace of usage. During the period of industrial and commercial
expansion after the world war 2, people came aware of the threats of rapid
population growth pollution and resource depletion posed to the environment and
their own survival as humans. These were historical milestones as per my
opinion which lead to the point of deep thinking on shaping our actions
throughout the world with a more prudent care for their environmental
consequences.