Sustainability means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In addition to natural resources, we also need social and economic resources. However, sustainability is not just environmentalism it also includes understanding the relationships between social equity, economic development, and the environment.
What is the history of Sustainability?
The concept of sustainability is a relatively new idea, the movement as a whole has roots in social justice, conservationism, internationalism, and other past movements with rich histories. By the end of the twentieth century, many of these ideas had come together in the call for ‘sustainable development.’ In 1987, the United Nations’ Bruntdland Commission coined the term ‘sustainable development’ and shared the most common definition of sustainability: development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
What Sustainability Encompasses
Ecological integrity is maintained, all of earth’s environmental systems are kept in balance while natural resources within them are consumed by humans at a rate where they are able to replenish themselves.
Human communities across the globe are able to maintain their independence and have access to the resources that they require, financial and other, to meet their needs. Economic systems are intact and activities are available to everyone, such as secure sources of livelihood.
Universal human rights and basic necessities are attainable by all people, who have access to enough resources in order to keep their families and communities healthy and secure. Healthy communities have just leaders who ensure personal, labor and cultural rights are respected and all people are protected from discrimination.
The Future of Sustainability
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.