Why is Social Equity a part of Sustainability
Sustainability burdens different classes of people in the society differently, and sustainable programs that tend to overlook this integral aspect of social equity are bound to fail. Not everyone has equal access to resources and people might be unable to make conscious sustainable choices because of this disparity. Our economies are oriented towards profit as opposed to sustainability, skewering the balance in favour of more economical consumer goods, even though such goods might compromise sustainability. And while disadvantaged people are unable to make conscious choices because of their circumstances they are most likely to feel the burden of unsustainable practices.
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While incorporating social justice strategies as a part of adopting sustainability is a relatively newer concept, it has always been a core determining factor establishing success. In the absence of social equity, sustainable practices can only be adopted by the more privileged class of people and the adoption of sustainability by only one small section of the society defeats the ultimate objective of sustainability. Sustainability communities can only be established when all parts of the community are enabled by appropriate social equity measures to ensure equitable access to all.
Active participation by all stakeholders in a community is an essential requirement to establish sustainability and this can only be achieved by enabling every person to actively participate through the means of social equity schemes. The connection between the two concepts can be understood to mean that what is good for the disenfranchised masses is good for all of us, only when we are the least powerful people with necessary tools only then can we drive change for a better future.
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Sustainable programmes that are not inclusive of all classes of people often ignore the real essence of the concept. Systematic discrimination and prejudices marginalize certain sections of society who are unable to voice their concerns and therefore get affected the most by policies that ignore their needs. Sustainable development is a concept that refers to the unified development of the entire society and hence impliedly social equity becomes an integral aspect of the concept itself. One cannot exist without the other and in essence, these two concepts are coextensive with each other.
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