EconomyThe human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable...

The human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment

(Expansión) РOn July 28, the United Nations General Assembly issued a historic resolution in which it declared access to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a universal human right, with the vote in favor of 161 of its member states and only 8 abstentions.

It has as background the resolution that the United Nations Human Rights Council also issued in this regard on October 8, 2021, after decades of struggle by various organizations that defend the environment and some member states that promote this initiative, so that give this important recognition.

Undoubtedly, this resolution is presented at a time when there are increasing alerts at the international level of the environmental crisis we are experiencing, not only derived from climate change, but also from the great loss of biodiversity and the excessive generation of pollutants and waste. , known as the triple planetary crisis, which is expected to be a catalyst for urgent and forceful action by governments, the private sector and society in general to guarantee it.

And it is that just that same day, July 28, was the “Earth Overshoot Day” 2022 (known in English as the Earth Overshoot Day ), which is calculated annually as the day in which we would have exhausted the availability of natural resources for that year, given the biocapacity of our planet, so for the rest of the year we would be in a deficit situation, requiring 1.75 planets to meet the current needs of humanity.

This overexploitation of the natural capital that currently exists limits, on the one hand, the resilience of the Earth, and on the other hand, it puts the subsistence of all ecosystems at risk, unless significant changes in patterns are implemented in the short term. linear production and consumption, replacing them with circular economy models and sustainable investment schemes, among others, with a mainstreaming of human rights.

Hence the importance and the need to be able to work in coordination between all sectors in favor of the common good represented by being able to enjoy a clean, healthy and sustainable environment for us as human beings, but also for all the species with which we share planet Earth.

In this way, we must also understand said UN resolution as a call for deep reflection on the subject, which derives in a whole series of actions in legal, educational, economic, political, business and social matters for a true transformation in this sense.

On a personal level, it should also help us realize the relevance of the issue for our health and well-being, for our diet and ultimately for our life itself and its quality; as well as to value our interdependence with our natural environment, identify our impacts and rethink our lifestyles towards those that are much more sustainable, starting with actions at home, at work, in our communities, etc., that pay in this regard, and that detonate virtuous circles in each area.

As with any other great challenge that we currently have, we cannot wait for only governments or a few companies to act to try to solve it, but the key is in each one of us and what, individually and collectively, we are doing as agents of change, based on an awareness and genuine commitment to move in that direction for the common good of current and future generations.

This is how it is essential that we all become co-responsible for guaranteeing the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment for our well-being and development.

Editor’s note: Jorge Reyes Iturbide is a specialist in corporate social responsibility and sustainable development and for 17 years has worked for various companies and national and international organizations on research projects, consulting, development of standards and executive education on the subject. He is currently Director of the IDEARSE Center of the Anahuac Mexico University. Follow him on and . The opinions published in this column belong exclusively to the author.

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