February 18 2008

Defining Sustainability: Five Statements

"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs."

-World Commission on Environment and Sustainability (Brundtland Commission, 1987)

"A dynamic process which enables all people to realize their potential and to improve their quality of life in ways that simultaneously protect and enhance the Earth's life support systems."

-Forum for the Future

"Sustainability is the achievement of policies and procedures which are environmentally sound, economically viable and socially just."

-The University of Wisconsin- Madison, Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems

"Sustainability is equity over time. As a value, it refers to giving equal weight in your decisions to the future as well as the present. You might think of it as extending the Golden Rule through time, so that you do onto future generations (as well as your present fellow beings) as you would have them do onto you."

-Robert Gilman, Director, Context Institute

"Our vision is of a life-sustaining earth. We are committed to the achievement of a dignified, peaceful, and equitable existence. We believe a sustainable United States will have an economy that equitably provides 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 on which all life depends."

-The President's Council on Sustainable Development (1993-1999), mission statement


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