What is Sustainability?

'The impacts of global warming are beginning to show and people are scared. From water shortages to species extinction to spread of disease to intense storm systems the impacts are catastrophic...'

To read the rest of this article by Central student Danielle Albert, click here.

Experts have concluded that current human habits of consumption and production are depleting the planet’s finite resources and damaging life-supporting eco-systems. The most pressing example of this is found in human caused global warming. Scientists have concluded that changes in weather patterns, melting glaciers and rising sea levels caused by climate change will cause economic chaos and affect the health of millions of people.

Living sustainably means living in such a way that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Brundtland Commission, 1987). The three pillars of global sustainability are expressed in the following way in the Earth Charter:

Environmental Pillar -- the need to protect and restore the integrity of Earth’s ecological systems, with special concerns for biological diversity and the natural processes that sustain life

Economic Pillar -- the need to eradicate poverty and ensure that economic activities safeguard Earth’s regenerative capacities and promote human development in and equitable and sustainable manner.

Social Pillar -- the need to uphold the right of all, without discrimination, to a natural and social environment supportive of human dignity, bodily health, and spiritual well being.

For more information about sustainability visit any of the following websites:

United Nations Decade for Education for Sustainable Development

U. S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development

Facing the Future

Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education

Earth Charter

Contact Information

Charles Button
Geography, Anthropology, & Tourism
Ebenezer D. Bassett Hall