What Is Sustainability

Sustainability: "Is a process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development and institutional change are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations" (The World Commission on Environment and Development)

In a few nutshells, sustainability means...
  • Don't mess up and make things more difficult in the future.
  • Maximize society's return on its social investment.
  • Maximize the growth of our economy without inducing a later recession.

Sustainability does not mean...
  • Waste money on pointless programs.
  • Raise taxes.
  • Slow our economic growth.

Sustainability is what any good corporate CEOs would wish to ensure for their corporation, that is, if they are interested in staying in business for the long haul. Similarly, any good public servant realizes we must plan our society for the long haul. Human civilization has no recourse such as filing for Chapter 11 restructuring.

The quest for sustainability is based on the recognition that mankind as a whole can make mistakes which hurt us and our children, and therefore we must carefully study the long term impacts of the choices we are making today as individuals and as a society.

See Also