Sustainability is:
"...improving the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems."
Caring for the Earth

Talking Points
  • Quality of all human life
  • Living within the limits
  • Conservation and development are parts of the same process

In 1991, three environmental organizations, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), jointly published a book called "Caring for the Earth." This definition, taken from that book, emphasizes the carrying capacity of the earth and the quality of human life. The book lists nine principles of a sustainable society and outlines a set of strategies for achieving it. The principles are:
  • Respect and care for the community of life
  • Improve the quality of human life
  • Conserve the earth's vitality and diversity
  • Minimize the depletion of non-renewable resources
  • Keep within the earth's carrying capacity
  • Change personal attitudes and practices
  • Provide a national framework for integrating development and conservation
  • Create a global alliance
The book begins with the idea that "We need development that is both people-centered, concentrating on improving the human condition, and conservation-based, maintaining the variety and productivity of nature. We have to stop talking about conservation and development as if they were in opposition, and recognize that they are essential parts of one indispensable process." (Caring for the Earth, p8)
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Copyright © 1998 Maureen Hart. All rights reserved.