Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Sustainability is a characteristic of a process or state that can be maintained at a certain level indefinitely. The term, in its environmental usage, refers to the potential longevity of vital human ecological support systems, such as the planet's climatic system, systems of agriculture, industry, forestry, and fisheries, and human communities in general and the various systems on which they depend in balance with the impacts of our unsustainable or sustainable design.
In recent years an academic and public discourse has led to this use of the word sustainability in reference to how long human ecological systems can be expected to be usefully productive. In the past, complex human societies have died out, sometimes as a result of their own growth-associated impacts on ecological support systems. The implication is that modern industrial society, which continues to grow in scale and complexity, will also collapse.
The implied preference would be for systems to be productive indefinitely, or be "sustainable." A side discourse relates the term sustainability to longevity of natural ecosystems and reserves (set aside for other-than-human species), but the challenging emphasis has been on human systems and anthropogenic problems, such as anthropogenic climate change, or the depletion of fossil fuel reserves.
Despite differences, a number of common principles are embedded in most charters or action programs to achieve sustainable development, sustainability or sustainable prosperity. Dealing transparently and systemically with risk, uncertainty and irreversible. Ensuring appropriate valuation, appreciation and restoration of nature.
Conservation of biodiversity and ecological integrity.
  • Ensuring inter-generational equity.
  • Recognizing the global integration of localities.
  • A commitment to best practice.
  • No net loss of human capital or natural capital.
  • The principle of continuous improvement.
  • The need for good governance.

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