Social Sustainability is perhaps one of the least well-known aspects with regards to issues of Sustainability but perhaps the most important one for the human race as a whole. As with any area of sustainability, any approach that is going to be capable of producing viable and long-term solutions, must be based on facts and reality, not just emotions and feelings and certainly not on intentionsi. Unfortunately, this area is also one where emotions do run rampant and often rule the day, much to the detriment of those who need actual assistance. Social Sustainability must be inclusive not only of the sociological aspects of the Community Development, the availability of basic goods and services to all people equally, including access to safe and secure housing (integrated into society and not isolated based on social standings) and ready access to both short-term and long-term medical and health care and treatment, basic food supplies and other similar necessities of life.
Furthermore, Social Sustainability needs to factor in human nature and allow for the fact that there is no guarantee or assurance of equality in results. What must happen is that the opportunity for personal advancement must be made equally available to all peopleii. This holds equally as true in areas of medicine, medical and health care and treatment. Not everyone is going to suffer a catastrophic accident or illness, but when they do, there needs to be not only readily available access to treatment, but different options based on the beliefs and faith and desires of the individual in need of that treatment. It would be wonderful to live in a perfect world where there would always be perfect parity, though such will never be the case. Then again, such a world would probably be frighteningly mundane and boring and certainly not leave any potential for the variety and splendor and character of humanity as a singular species.
i INTENTIONS: The person crossing the road likely intends only to cross the road. It could be that they never see the bus. It could be that someone has warned them about the bus and they still do not see it. It could be that they have seen the bus but feel certain and believe with all their being that the bus will stop to let them pass. Whatever the facts may be, far too many people are focused on “intentions”, “feelings” and “emotions” and allow this to fester into a sense of cognitive dissonance that leaves them wholly unprepared for reality when it rears its ugly head and strikes.
REALITY: When they get hit by the bus, their emotions, their feelings and their intentions suddenly become irrelevant. The reality is that no matter what their intentions may have been, they may still be alive if they are fortunate, but even then, the fact remains that they suffered greatly no matter what their original intentions may have been.
One of the most important … albeit one of the most difficult things to bear in mind, is that no matter what the intentions may be, reality will ultimately rule the day. It is wonderful to envision a world where humans will all get along and where social ills are nothing more than a distant memory but human nature being what it is, Nietzsche and the lessons he imparted upon us will one day rear their ugly head and bite us on our collective … intentions. It is imperative that every effort be made to provide people with an equal opportunity for success and incentive to be successful, but when reality sets in, some people are not going to be as successful as others.
No matter how well good-behavior is rewarded, there is still going to be bad behavior as well. While it would be nice to live in a perfect world, we do not … and any viable and long-term solutions must take into account some of the harsh realities of the world around us and not be limited to emotions or intentions. When it comes to community developments, it is imperative to remember that very real people will suffer very real consequences when programs are not properly or adequately implemented and when problems are not efficiently met and resolved by the people in charge. More importantly still perhaps, is that any system of governance as shall be instituted, shall be kept in check by the people, even in the form of mandatory service within the Ombudsman Program and the Citizen Review Boards much as is common at present with Jury Duty.
ii While the estimates vary slightly, it is estimated that if all of the wealth were equally distributed today among all of the people of the world, that it would take less than two weeks for a vast disparity between the rich and the poor to be established. The reality is that a distribution of wealth is not going to alleviate any issues or concerns about economic disparity. While it is imperative to provide equal opportunities for everyone, it is equally imperative to remember that there is no equalization or guarantee of results and to believe otherwise is foolhardy at best and dangerous at worst.