Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sustainable Development Defined

Sustainable development is concerned with the reasonable and equitably distributed level of economic well being that can be perpetuated continually for many human generations. It also implies using renewable natural resources in a manner that does not eliminate or degrade them, or otherwise diminish their usefulness for future generations.

The 1987 Brundtland Report also know as Our Common Future, is a 400 page book published by United Nations World Commission on development and what to do about environmental sustainability. This report see sustainable development as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts:
  • the concept of needs, in particular the essential needs of the world's poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and 
  • the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment's ability to meet present and future needs.
Our Common Future serves notice that "the time has come for a marriage of economy and ecology, so that governments and their people can take responsibility not just for environmental damage, but for the policies that cause the damage. Some of the policies threaten the very survival of the human race. They can be changed. But we must act now."

All definitions of sustainable development require that we see the world as a an entire system rather than just individual parts.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.  


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