Sustainability and Sustainable Development

Authored by: Alan D. Hecht , Joseph Fiksel

Landscape and Land Capacity

Print publication date:  June  2020
Online publication date:  May  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138334083
eBook ISBN: 9780429445552
Adobe ISBN:


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Sustainability, or sustainable development, is generally understood to mean a state or condition that enables the fulfillment of economic and social needs without compromising the natural resources and environmental quality that are the foundation of human health, safety, and security. The origins of this concept extend back to the early 20th century, and today sustainability is seen as both a goal and a process whereby innovative approaches are used to advance economic prosperity while minimizing adverse global impacts. The need for sustainability is especially urgent due to increased rates of natural resource degradation that create growing threats to human health and the environment. These stresses will only increase as the global population grows from 7 billion people today to 9 billion by 2050. In the private sector, many companies have adopted sustainable practices, based on the view that this will create shareholder value while protecting the environment and social well-being. Going forward, global adoption of sustainable development is essential for reaching the next level of environmental and economic progress and will require collaboration among government, business, and civil society.

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