What is the Social Pillar in Sustainable Development?

We have seen that Sustainable Development takes time because progress is difficult. We know that to be ecologically conscious we should look after our house with reason and logic, especially if our house is the Earth. We also discussed in our economy article that we should organize our house by following certain reasonable rules beyond monetary concerns.

So we are coming to the last pillar of Sustainable Development: society, or the social pillar. Let’s face it: the problems related to Sustainable Development would not exist without human beings. We are programmed to use the environment to ensure our survival.


A prehistoric man who acts with a simple stone to modify a big bone: with little human being can accomplish a lot.

Indeed, since prehistory, we have had to compensate for the fact that we have no fur, no big teeth, no fast legs and no razor-sharped claws… So it was necessary to learn how to make weapons, build shelters, master fire and negotiate with your neighbor to unite against predators and invaders.

Human impact on our environment is not a brand-new issue … It is much more than 3,000 years old… So a summary in less than 800 words is probably as complicated as attempting to catalog the entire range of human skin tones!


To stay focused, let’s ask: what is the root of the word social? Ironically the word “social” comes from the latin “socialis” which means “same direction”. Similary, when we talk about the social pillar in sustainable development, we should imagine a group of people who would act in the same “direction”, that is, with the same goal in mind.

It follows then that this community or society manages its house in the same way and its members follow the same logical rules to ensure that goods and services are available in the right place, at the right time and in reasonable quantity and price.

It is as simple as rowing; we line up and we all paddle all in rhythm and (more importantly!) in the same direction. When you are trained, it is very simple! Let’s not forget though that rowing is a sport so we have to make an effort to improve and little by little we move forward… You see where I am going with this: effort, progression, time, difficulty… All together we are the “athletes” of Sustainable Development!


Therefore, picture if you will, all in the same boat: starving and homeless people, ecologists, billionaires, workers, unemployed persons, cancer patients, artists, migrants, businessmen, politicians, prisoners, alcoholics, junkies and don’t forget rednecks and Justin Bieber‘s fans. Ready, set, row!

Clearly, it’s an immensely difficult task to get the people of this world working together for one common goal.

In summary, we should all be moving in the same direction despite our differences and that is the social challenge in Sustainable Development. Ideally, we should all move in the same direction capitalizing on our diversity to protect the environment and build a responsible economy. Good Luck!

There really are a lot of complicated problems for human-beings … Fortunately, the 100 best chess players are men so we can be reassured, right? Yet consider this, how many female dictators have been throughout history?

We should act together to go further in the environmental protection. The History has shown that we need diversity and how we can progress as soon we join: the Selma to Montgomery march with Martin Luther King, the salt march with Gandhi, the fall of the Berlin Wall...

Obviously, we will not debate here whether we need women or men to change the world. Moreover, if behind every great man, there is a great woman, behind every dictator it is probably the same story. We should rather act together to improve: men, women, black, white, yellow, red and even the greens… After all, what would be a Rainbow without all colors?

To conclude, we need diversity if we want to protect the environment. Biology has shown that species need diversity to survive and that, the pure race and the blue blood have no chance.

Yes, in sustainable development we need an array of nationalities represented on the boat; French, Hispanic, American, African, Chinese, Arab, etc. Yes, we can also add a royal member, a fanatic, a Buddhist, a Catholic and a Muslim on this boat. Yes, we also need dad, mom, baby, the handy grandpa, the baking granny, the hippie cousin, the gay uncle and the hairy neighbor to sustain evolution. Yes, we have to row and it’s not going to be easy.


Yes, the challenge is disproportionate. Yes, the challenge is huge. Yes, we are small drops in the ocean and we must unite to go in the same direction. So please do not forget: what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?


Feel free to tell us what you do to protect the environment by leaving your comments or by answering our survey. Your opinion and actions matter!

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