Sustainable Development: The World is Flat, By Nabarup Ganguly, Department of Geography

Thomas Friedman, New York Times columnist and three times Pulitzer Prize winner wrote an international bestseller in 2005 titled “The WorldUntitled is Flat: A Brief History of the Globalised World in the 21st Century.”

When the author met Nandan Nilekani, the former CEO of Infosys, he was told “Tom, the playing field is being leveled.” It is from this statement that the title of the book was derived.

The main message from the book is that; the world is much more inter-connected than ever before. The world is getting flatter. This fact is important for Sustainable Development. Imagine different classrooms in your institute. Now, one by one remove the walls that separate them OR link them through microphones & cameras. The interconnectedness will increase; thus your institute has become „flatter‟ then before.

A flat world leads to spread and integration of people, economy, knowledge and culture across the world. A flat world helps all countries become better and reduce inequality in all forms. The idea is to link our lives across the world in such a way that we are inter-dependent on each other. It is this noble thought that led to creation of the Millennium Development Goals (MaaaDGs). A flat world will increase interdependence and boost mutual support; Sustainable Development will benefit from a flat and interconnected world The message is to Live and Let Live.

This is the same message, which was given to the world by Mahavira “All life is bound together by mutual support & interdependence.” This was in 6th century BCE; over 2500 years ago.

Cooperation is vital for a common sustainable future. After all, we are all in the same boat… huh, rather on the same planet!

Environmental issues are beyond the concept of geographical boundaries and so is their impact. Imagine, you are a Tiger. Your home is the Sahyadris aka Western Ghats – the 1,600-km-long mountain chain that begins near the border of Gujarat and Maharashtra and runs through the states of Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. As a Tiger you do not know where Goa ends and Karnataka begins (nor do you use GPS!) It is the same for other animals and for natural resources like rivers.

For you as a tiger, entire Sahyadris need to be in good health. Ditto is the case for sustainable development – the whole world needs to be in good health for All of Us to live well.

Sustenance of ecosystems requires cooperation across state, national & international boundaries. Rio+20 allowed us to understand the global interconnected of our lives and environment & economy. We realized that countries and people must opt for Sustainable Development. Take care.

q

Ahh wait,

Just for the record;

World is Not flat.

See here!

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