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What is Sustainability? by Tom Theis

What is Sustainability? by Tom Theis

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Published by ruby soho
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Sharing for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement intended.

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Published by: ruby soho on Oct 01, 2012
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05/13/2014

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Connexionsmodule:m41188
WhatisSustainability?   
TomThei
ThisworkisproducedbyTheConnexionsProjectandlicensedunderthe CreativeCommonsAttributionLicens
In1983theUnitedNationsGeneralAssemblypassedresolution38/161entitledProcessofPreparation oftheEnvironmentalPerspectivetotheYear2000andBeyond 
,establishingaspecialcommissionwhose chargewas(a)Toproposelong-termenvironmentalstrategiesforachievingsustainabledevelopmenttotheyear2000 andbeyond; (b)Torecommendwaysinwhichconcernfortheenvironmentmaybetranslatedintogreaterco-operation amongdevelopingcountriesandbetweencountriesatdierentstagesofeconomicandsocialdevelop- mentandleadtotheachievementofcommonandmutuallysupportiveobjectiveswhichtakeaccount oftheinterrelationshipsbetweenpeople,resources,environmentanddevelopment(c)Toconsiderwaysandmeansbywhichtheinternationalcommunitycandealmoreeectivelywitenvironmentalconcerns,inthelightoftheotherrecommendationsinitsreport(d)Tohelptodenesharedperceptionsoflong-termenvironmentalissuesandoftheappropriateeortneededtodealsuccessfullywiththeproblemsofprotectingandenhancingtheenvironment,along-teragendaforactionduringthecomingdecades,andaspirationalgoalsfortheworldcommunity,taking intoaccounttherelevantresolutionsofthesessionofaspecialcharacteroftheGoverningCouncili1982. ThecommissionlateradoptedtheformalnameWorldCommissiononEnvironmentandDevelopment (WCED)butbecamewidelyknownbythenameofitschairGroHarlemBrundtland 
,amedicaldoctor andpublichealthadvocatewhohadservedasNorway'sMinisterforEnvironmentalAairsandsubsequentlheldthepostofPrimeMinisterduringthreeperiods.Thecommissionhadtwenty-onemember
drawnfrom acrosstheglobe,halfrepresentingdevelopingnations.Inadditiontoitsfact-ndingactivitiesonthestatoftheglobalenvironment,thecommissionheldfteenmeetingsinvariouscitiesaroundtheworldseeking rsthandexperiencesonthehowhumansinteractwiththeenvironment.TheBrundtlandCommissionissued itsnalreportOurCommonFutur
in1987AlthoughtheBrundtlandReportdidnottechnicallyinventthetermsustainability,itwastherscredibleandwidely-disseminatedstudythatprobeditsmeaninginthecontextoftheglobalimpactsof humansontheenvironment.Itsmainandoftenquoteddenitionreferst
sustainabledevelopment 
a 
. . .
developmentthatmeetstheneedsofthepresentwithoutcompromisingtheabilityoffuturegenerations tomeettheirownneeds.Thereportusesthetermssustainabledevelopment,sustainable,andsustainabilityinterchangeably,emphasizingtheconnectionsamongsocialequity,economicproductivity,and 
Version1.7:May14,20123:05pmGMT-
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ 
http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/38/a38r161.htm 
http://www.un.org/News/dh/hlpanel/brundtland-bio.htm 
http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Brundtland_Report 
http://www.un-documents.net/wced-ocf.htm 
http://cnx.org/content/m41188/1.7/ 
 
Connexionsmodule:m41188
environmentalquality.Thepathwaysforintegrationofthesemaydiernationbynation;stillthesepath- waysmustsharecertaincommontraits:theessentialneedsoftheworld'spoor,towhichoverridingprioritshouldbegiven,andtheideaoflimitationsimposedbythestateoftechnologyandsocialorganizationon theenvironment'sabilitytomeetpresentandfutureneeds. Thustherearethreedimensionsthatsustainabilityseekstointegrate:economic,environmental,and social(includingsociopolitical).Economicinterestsdenetheframeworkformakingdecisions,theowof nancialcapital,andthefacilitationofcommerce,includingtheknowledge,skills,competencesandother attributesembodiedinindividualsthatarerelevanttoeconomicactivity.Environmentalaspectsrecognize thediversityandinterdependencewithinlivingsystems,thegoodsandservicesproducedbytheworld'ecosystems,andtheimpactsofhumanwastes.Socio-politicalreferstointeractionsbetweeninstitutions/rmandpeople,functionsexpressiveofhumanvalues,aspirationsandwell-being,ethicalissues,anddecision- makingthatdependsuponcollectiveaction.Thereportseesthesethreeelementsaspartofahighlintegratedandcohesivelyinteracting,ifperhapspoorlyunderstood,systemTheBrundtlandReportmakesitclearthatwhilesustainabledevelopmentisenabledbytechnological advancesandeconomicviability,itisrstandforemostasocialconstructthatseekstoimprovethequalitoflifefortheworld'speoples:physically,throughtheequitablesupplyofhumanandecologicalgoodsand services;aspirationally,throughmakingavailablethewidespreadmeansforadvancementthroughaccestoeducation,systemsofjustice,andhealthcare;andstrategically,throughsafeguardingtheinterestsof generationstocome.Inthissensesustainabilitysitsamongaseriesofhumansocialmovementsthathave occurredthroughouthistory:humanrights,racialequality,genderequity,laborrelations,andconservationtonameafew
http://cnx.org/content/m41188/1.7/ 
 
Connexionsmodule:m41188
Figure1:OverlappingThemesoftheSustainabilityParadigm 
Adepictionofthesustainabilitparadigmintermsofitsthreemaincomponents,showingvariousintersectionsamongthem
SourceInternationalUnionfortheConservationofNatur
Theintersectionofsocialandeconomicelementscanformthebasisofsocialequity.Inthesensofenlightenedmanagement,"viability"isformedthroughconsiderationofeconomicandenvironmental interests.Betweenenvironmentandsocialelementsliesbearability,therecognitionthatthefunctioningof societiesisdependentonenvironmentalresourcesandservices.Attheintersectionofallthreeoftheselies sustainability. TheUSEnvironmentalProtectionAgenc
(USEPA)takestheextrastepofdrawingadistinction betweensustainabilityandsustainabledevelopment,theformerencompassingideas,aspirationsandvalues thatinspirepublicandprivateorganizationstobecomebetterstewardsoftheenvironmentandthatpromotpositiveeconomicgrowthandsocialobjectives,thelatterimplyingthatenvironmentalprotectiondoesnot precludeeconomicdevelopmentandthateconomicdevelopmentmustbeecologicallyviablenowandinthe longrun. TheChapte
TheEvolutionofEnvironmentalPolicyintheUnitedStates 
presentsinformation onhowthethreecomponentsthatcomprisesustainabilityhaveinuencedtheevolutionofenvironmental publicpolicy.TheChapte
Sustainability:Ethics,Culture,andHistory 
exploresingreaterdetaitheethicalbasisforsustainabilityanditsculturalandhistoricalsignicance. 
http://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/iucn_future_of_sustanability.pdf 
http://www.epa.gov/sustainability/basicinfo.htm#sustainabilit
"TheEvolutionofEnvironmentalPolicyintheUnitedStatesChapterIntroduction" <http://cnx.org/content/m42118/latest/> 
"TheHumanDimensionsofSustainability:History,Culture,Ethics"<http://cnx.org/content/m39378/latest/> 
http://cnx.org/content/m41188/1.7/ 

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