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Sustainability Guide

This guide is meant to share academic information and resources on sustainability.

What is Sustainability?

The World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) was an international commission that discussed and devised strategies for protecting the environment and promoting sustainable development. The commission published the Brundtland Report of 1987 (also known as Our Common Future). This report is most often cited for its definition of sustainable development as:


"development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."


The WCED explored the causes of environmental degradation, attempted to understand the interconnections between social equity, economic growth, and environmental problems, and developed policy solutions that integrated all three areas.

Green plant in its pot in three different phases of growth (2011) Open Clip Art

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shares a similar definition of sustainability with the following:

"Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. To pursue sustainability is to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations."


This video explains the meaning of sustainability and the three core factors of sustainable development: environmental, economic, and social sustainability.