Definitions of Sustainability
|Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. |
WCED "Our Common Future"
(The Brundtland Report)
Sustainability is a new way of thinking about an age-old concern: ensuring that our children and grandchildren inherit a tomorrow that is at least as good as today, preferably better. We want to make sure that the way we live our lives is sustainable - that it can continue and keep improving for a long, long time.
We define sustainable environmental stewardship to include those concepts, strategies, tools, practices, an dapproaches that lead to environmental improvement in a manner that is sustainable over tiem, considers the long term effects as well as the shorter term, more immediate effects, and that contributes positively, even if indirectly, to the social and economic condition.
Leave the world better than you found it, take no more than you need, try not to harm life or the environment, make amends if you do.
A sustainable society is one that lives within the self-perpetuating limits of its environment. That society is not a "no growth" society - it is, rather a society that recognizes the limits of growth and looks for alternative ways of growing.
Sustainability is equity over time ... think of it as extending the Golden rule through time .. Do unto future generations as you would have them do unto you.
Sustainable development is economic growth that will benefit present and future generations without detrimentally affecting the resources or biological systems of the planet.
President's Council on Sustainable Development
Sustainable development refers to a positive rate of change in the quality of life (i.e. well being) of people based on a system which permits this positive rate of change to be maintained for an indefinite period of time.
Growth based on forms and processes of development that do not undermine the integrity of the environment on which they depend.
Secretary General of the World Commission
on Environment and Development
Achieving the ecological balance which allows economic prosperity and social equity to be achieved across generations.
Sustainable design is the careful nesting of human purposes with the larger patterns and flows of the natural world...
The "greatest good for the greatest number" applies to the [number of] people within the womb of time, compared to which those now alive form but an insignificant fraction. Our duty to the whole, including the unborn generations, bids us to restrain an unprincipled present-day minority from wasting the heritage of these unborn generations."
Theodore Roosevelt, 1916
Then I say the earth belongs to each...generation during its course, fully and in its own right. The second generation receives it clear of the debts and encumbrances, the third of the second, and so on. For if the first could charge it with a debt, then the earth would belong to the dead and not to the living generation. Then, no generation can contract debts greater than may be paid during the course of it's own existence.
September 6, 1789
Development that provides real improvements in the quality of human life and at the same time conserves the vitality and diversity of the Earth.
Caring for the Earth
A sustainable United States will have a growing economy that provides equitable opportunities for satisfying livelihoods and a safe, healthy, high quality of life for current and future generations. Our nation will protect its environment, its natural resource base, and the functions and viability of natural systems on which all life depends.
The President's Council on Sustainable Development
If you get right down to it, sustainability is really the study of the interconnectedness of all things.
Barbara J. Lither, J.D
For more information on international sustainable development activities, see http://www.epa.gov/oia/WSSD/index.html