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of Sustainable Development
are some common descriptions of sustainable development:
"Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without
compromising the ability of future generations to meet their
United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development.
"Then I say the earth belongs to each . . . generation during
its course, fully and in its own right, no generation can contract
debts greater than may be paid during the course of its own
Thomas Jefferson, September 6, 1789.
"Sustainability refers to the ability of a society, ecosystem,
or any such ongoing system to continue functioning into the
indefinite future without being forced into decline through
exhaustion . . . of key resources."
Robert Gilman, President of Context Institute.
"Sustainability is the [emerging] doctrine that economic growth
and development must take place, and be maintained over time,
within the limits set by ecology in the broadest sense - by
the interrelations of human beings and their works, the biosphere
and the physical and chemical laws that govern it . . . . It
follows that environmental protection and economic development
are complementary rather than antagonistic processes."
William D. Ruckelshaus, "Toward a Sustainable
World," Scientific American, September 1989.
"The word sustainable has roots in the Latin subtenir, meaning
'to hold up' or 'to support from below.' A community must be
supported from below - by its inhabitants, present and future.
Certain places, through the peculiar combination of physical,
cultural, and, perhaps, spiritual characteristics, inspire people
to care for their community. These are the places where sustainability
has the best chance of taking hold."
Muscoe Martin, "A Sustainable Community Profile,"
from Places, Winter 1995.
"A sustainable community effort consists of a long-term, integrated,
systems approach to developing and achieving a healthy community
by jointly addressing economic, environmental, and social issues.
Fostering a strong sense of community and building partnerships
and consensus among key stakeholders are also important elements
of such efforts.
"The focus and scale of sustainability efforts depend on local conditions,
including resources, politics, individual actions, and the unique features
of the community. The sustainable communities approach has been applied
to issues as varied as urban sprawl, inner-city and brownfield redevelopment,
economic development and growth, ecosystem management, agriculture, biodiversity,
green buildings, energy conservation, watershed management, and pollution
prevention. Many of these issues and other community problems cannot easily
be addressed by traditional approaches or traditional elements within our
"Many people feel it is better to address such problems through
a more collaborative and holistic systems approach because such
problems are diffuse, multidisciplinary, multiagency, multistakeholder
and multisector in nature."
Beth E. Lachman, Critical Technologies Institute, "Linking Sustainable
Community Activities to Pollution Prevention: A Sourcebook,"
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