What is Sustainability?
Definitions of sustainability show the diversity of perspectives related to the concept. Some say that sustainability is and will remain impossible to exactly define. Others argue that ambiguity is valuable in getting a range of conflicting voices together around a table to discuss issues.
- Sustainability is a framework for making decisions that integrates human, environmental and economic needs as a whole system.
- Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The World Commission on Environment and Development, Brundtland Commission report Our Common Future, 1987.
- “Sustainable Development is a commitment to respect and care for the community of life. It is economic growth that promotes the values of human rights, care for the natural world, and the striving for the common good of the whole earth community, especially the poor and most vulnerable. It involves sustaining the present generation without imposing long-term costs or penalties on future generations. It replaces the use of non-renewable resources with renewable ones and reduces the consumption of all resources. It entails reuse, recovery, and recycling wherever possible; and replenishment or restoration of the natural balances affected by our actions. It implies sound life-cycle planning and economics—economics that truly reflect the environmental and human costs of our technologies and decisions. Sustainable development will succeed only if it expands to include a vision of sustainable communities which hold all creation as sacred.” Regional Sustainable Development: A Plan of Action, Society of Jesus Oregon Province, 2006.