Sustainability is:
"Sustainable global development requires that those who are more affluent adopt lifestyles within the planet's ecological means."

"Sustainable development can only be pursued if population size and growth are in harmony with the changing productive potential of the ecosystem."
World Commission on the Environment and Development

Talking Points
  • Equity
  • Carrying capacity
  • Population
  • Changing lifestyles and habits of consumption
  • Not sustained growth

Although the first definition is the most widely quoted definition from the Brundtland Commission, their report, "Our Common Future," defined the term in a number of different ways. The two listed here are examples. Although the first definition was fairly general, these next definitions are more specific and speak to equity, population, and consumption. (Our Common Future, p9)

Many other organizations and groups have developed definitions of sustainability and ways to measure progress toward becoming a sustainable community. The key elements of the Brundtland definitions are equitable distribution of resources, both for existing people and people not yet born, and not using more than the ecosystem is able to continue providing. Sustainable development is not the same as sustained growth.
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Copyright © 1998 Maureen Hart. All rights reserved.