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Making development sustainable: From concepts to action
  1. Concepts for sustainable waste management
  4. Making development sustainable: From concepts to action
  5. Sustainable Agriculture: Unifying Concepts

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Concepts for sustainable waste management

Wartenberg , Hall, P. Hall 1 Email author 1. This model of unlimited personal and GDP growth may be over. Sustainable development may involve improvements in the quality of life for many but may necessitate a decrease in resource consumption. Issues of intergenerational equity , irreversibility of environmental change, uncertainty of long-term outcomes, and sustainable development guide ecological economic analysis and valuation. As early as the s, the concept of sustainability was used to describe an economy "in equilibrium with basic ecological support systems".

A World Bank study from concluded that based on the theory of genuine savings, policymakers have many possible interventions to increase sustainability, in macroeconomics or purely environmental. The study, Interpreting Sustainability in Economic Terms , found three pillars of sustainable development, interlinkage, intergenerational equity , and dynamic efficiency. But Gilbert Rist points out that the World Bank has twisted the notion of sustainable development to prove that economic development need not be deterred in the interest of preserving the ecosystem. He writes: "From this angle, 'sustainable development' looks like a cover-up operation.

The thing that is meant to be sustained is really 'development', not the tolerance capacity of the ecosystem or of human societies. The World Bank, a leading producer of environmental knowledge, continues to advocate the win-win prospects for economic growth and ecological stability even as its economists express their doubts.

When authors of WDR '92 [the highly influential World Development Report that featured the environment] were drafting the report, they called me asking for examples of "win-win" strategies in my work. What could I say? None exists in that pure form; there are trade-offs, not "win-wins. I wanted to contribute because WDR s are important in the Bank, [because] task managers read [them] to find philosophical justification for their latest round of projects.

But they did not want to hear about how things really are, or what I find in my work A meta review in looked at environmental and economic valuations and found a lack of "sustainability policies". They enable the effective practice of personal responsibility and the development of mechanisms to protect the environment.

The State can in this context "create conditions which encourage the people to save the environment". Misum, Mistra Center for Sustainable Markets, based at Stockholm School of Economics , aims to provide policy research and advice to Swedish and international actors on Sustainable Markets.

Misum is a cross-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder knowledge center dedicated to sustainability and sustainable markets and contains three research platforms: Sustainability in Financial Markets Mistra Financial Systems , Sustainability in Production and Consumption and Sustainable Socio-Economic Development. The total environment includes not just the biosphere of earth, air, and water, but also human interactions with these things, with nature, and what humans have created as their surroundings. As countries around the world continue to advance economically, they put a strain on the ability of the natural environment to absorb the high level of pollutants that are created as a part of this economic growth.

Therefore, solutions need to be found so that the economies of the world can continue to grow, but not at the expense of the public good. In the world of economics the amount of environmental quality must be considered as limited in supply and therefore is treated as a scarce resource. This is a resource to be protected. One common way to analyze possible outcomes of policy decisions on the scarce resource is to do a cost-benefit analysis. This type of analysis contrasts different options of resource allocation and, based on an evaluation of the expected courses of action and the consequences of these actions, the optimal way to do so in the light of different policy goals can be elicited.

Benefit-cost analysis basically can look at several ways of solving a problem and then assigning the best route for a solution, based on the set of consequences that would result from the further development of the individual courses of action, and then choosing the course of action that results in the least amount of damage to the expected outcome for the environmental quality that remains after that development or process takes place.

Further complicating this analysis are the interrelationships of the various parts of the environment that might be impacted by the chosen course of action. Sometimes it is almost impossible to predict the various outcomes of a course of action, due to the unexpected consequences and the amount of unknowns that are not accounted for in the benefit-cost analysis. Sustainable energy is clean and can be used over a long period of time.

Unlike fossil fuels and biofuels that provide the bulk of the worlds energy, renewable energy sources like hydroelectric, solar and wind energy produce far less pollution. These communities are historically left out during the decision-making process, and often end up with dirty power plants and other dirty energy projects that poison the air and harm the area. These toxicants are major contributors to health problems in the communities. As renewable energy becomes more common, fossil fuel infrastructures are replaced by renewables, providing better social equity to these communities.

Main article: Green manufacturing and Distributed manufacturing. One of the core concepts in sustainable development is that technology can be used to assist people to meet their developmental needs. Technology to meet these sustainable development needs is often referred to as appropriate technology , which is an ideological movement and its manifestations originally articulated as intermediate technology by the economist E.

Schumacher in his influential work, Small is Beautiful. And now covers a wide range of technologies. Transportation is a large contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. It is said that one-third of all gases produced are due to transportation. Sustainable transport has many social and economic benefits that can accelerate local sustainable development. According to a series of reports by the Low Emission Development Strategies Global Partnership LEDS GP , sustainable transport can help create jobs, [76] improve commuter safety through investment in bicycle lanes and pedestrian pathways, [77] make access to employment and social opportunities more affordable and efficient.

It also offers a practical opportunity to save people's time and household income as well as government budgets, [78] making investment in sustainable transport a 'win-win' opportunity. Some Western countries are making transportation more sustainable in both long-term and short-term implementations. The city has implemented extensive methods of public transportation, cycling, and walking, along with large areas where cars are not allowed.

Since many Western countries are highly automobile-oriented, the main transit that people use is personal vehicles. The federal government has to come up with some plans to reduce the total number of vehicle trips in order to lower greenhouse gases emission.


Such as:. Other states and nations have built efforts to translate knowledge in behavioral economics into evidence-based sustainable transportation policies. The most broadly accepted criterion for corporate sustainability constitutes a firm's efficient use of natural capital. This eco-efficiency is usually calculated as the economic value added by a firm in relation to its aggregated ecological impact. Similar to the eco-efficiency concept but so far less explored is the second criterion for corporate sustainability.

Socio-efficiency [84] describes the relation between a firm's value added and its social impact. Whereas, it can be assumed that most corporate impacts on the environment are negative apart from rare exceptions such as the planting of trees this is not true for social impacts. These can be either positive e. Depending on the type of impact socio-efficiency thus either tries to minimise negative social impacts i.

Both eco-efficiency and socio-efficiency are concerned primarily with increasing economic sustainability. In this process they instrumentalise both natural and social capital aiming to benefit from win-win situations. However, as Dyllick and Hockerts [84] point out the business case alone will not be sufficient to realise sustainable development.

They point towards eco-effectiveness, socio-effectiveness, sufficiency, and eco-equity as four criteria that need to be met if sustainable development is to be reached.


CSR as in corporate social responsibility is not what you do with your profits, but is the way you make profits. Sustainability as in effects towards Human resources, Environment and Ecology has to be measured within each department of the company. At the present time, sustainable development can reduce poverty.

Sustainable development reduces poverty through financial among other things, a balanced budget , environmental living conditions , and social including equality of income means. In sustainable architecture the recent movements of New Urbanism and New Classical architecture promote a sustainable approach towards construction, that appreciates and develops smart growth , architectural tradition and classical design. Sustainable architecture is predominantly relevant to the economics domain while architectural landscaping pertains more to the ecological domain.

A study concluded that social indicators and, therefore, sustainable development indicators, are scientific constructs whose principal objective is to inform public policy-making. The framework consists of six core areas:. The United Nations Global Compact Cities Programme has defined sustainable political development in a way that broadens the usual definition beyond states and governance. The political is defined as the domain of practices and meanings associated with basic issues of social power as they pertain to the organisation, authorisation, legitimation and regulation of a social life held in common.

This definition is in accord with the view that political change is important for responding to economic, ecological and cultural challenges. It also means that the politics of economic change can be addressed. They have listed seven subdomains of the domain of politics: [90]. This accords with the Brundtland Commission emphasis on development that is guided by human rights principles see above.

Working with a different emphasis, some researchers and institutions have pointed out that a fourth dimension should be added to the dimensions of sustainable development, since the triple-bottom-line dimensions of economic, environmental and social do not seem to be enough to reflect the complexity of contemporary society. This document inaugurates a new perspective and points to the relation between culture and sustainable development through a dual approach: developing a solid cultural policy and advocating a cultural dimension in all public policies. The Circles of Sustainability approach distinguishes the four domains of economic, ecological, political and cultural sustainability.

Other organizations have also supported the idea of a fourth domain of sustainable development. The Network of Excellence "Sustainable Development in a Diverse World", [94] sponsored by the European Union , integrates multidisciplinary capacities and interprets cultural diversity as a key element of a new strategy for sustainable development. The Circles of Sustainability approach used by Metropolis defines the fourth cultural domain as practices, discourses, and material expressions, which, over time, express continuities and discontinuities of social meaning.

Making development sustainable: From concepts to action

Recently, human-centered design and cultural collaboration have been popular frameworks for sustainable development in marginalized communities. This allows for them to understand each other's thought process and their comprehension of the sustainable projects. The user-oriented framework relies heavily on user participation and user feedback in the planning process.

Many communities express environmental concerns, so life cycle analysis is often conducted when assessing the sustainability of a product or prototype. These factors ensure that researchers are conscious of community values that align with positive environmental, social, and economic impacts.

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development UNCSD; also known as Rio was the third international conference on sustainable development, which aimed at reconciling the economic and environmental goals of the global community. An outcome of this conference was the development of the Sustainable Development Goals that aim to promote sustainable progress and eliminate inequalities around the world. However, few nations met the World Wide Fund for Nature 's definition of sustainable development criteria established in In a report for the U. Environmental Protection Agency stated: "While much discussion and effort has gone into sustainability indicators, none of the resulting systems clearly tells us whether our society is sustainable.

At best, they can tell us that we are heading in the wrong direction, or that our current activities are not sustainable. More often, they simply draw our attention to the existence of problems, doing little to tell us the origin of those problems and nothing to tell us how to solve them. Those indicators are expected to be identified and adjusted through empirical observations trial and error. The most common critiques are related to issues like data quality, comparability, objective function and the necessary resources. The Cuban-born researcher and entrepreneur Sonia Bueno suggests an alternative approach that is based upon the integral, long-term cost-benefit relationship as a measure and monitoring tool for the sustainability of every project, activity or enterprise.

Reasonable qualifications of sustainability are seen U. This design incorporates some ecological, economic, and social elements. The goals presented by LEED design goals are sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmospheric emission reduction, material and resources efficiency, and indoor environmental quality.

Although amount of structures for sustainability development is many, these qualification has become a standard for sustainable building. Recent research efforts created also the SDEWES Index to benchmark the performance of cities across aspects that are related to energy, water and environment systems.

It is currently applied to 58 cities. The sustainable development debate is based on the assumption that societies need to manage three types of capital economic, social, and natural , which may be non-substitutable and whose consumption might be irreversible. While it is possible that we can find ways to replace some natural resources, it is much more unlikely that they will ever be able to replace eco-system services, such as the protection provided by the ozone layer, or the climate stabilizing function of the Amazonian forest.

In fact natural capital, social capital and economic capital are often complementarities. A further obstacle to substitutability lies also in the multi-functionality of many natural resources. Forests, for example, not only provide the raw material for paper which can be substituted quite easily , but they also maintain biodiversity, regulate water flow, and absorb CO2. Another problem of natural and social capital deterioration lies in their partial irreversibility. The loss of biodiversity , for example, is often definitive.

The same can be true for cultural diversity. For example, with globalisation advancing quickly the number of indigenous languages is dropping at alarming rates. Moreover, the depletion of natural and social capital may have non-linear consequences. Consumption of natural and social capital may have no observable impact until a certain threshold is reached. A lake can, for example, absorb nutrients for a long time while actually increasing its productivity.

However, once a certain level of algae is reached lack of oxygen causes the lake's ecosystem to break down suddenly. If the degradation of natural and social capital has such important consequence the question arises why action is not taken more systematically to alleviate it. Cohen and Winn [] point to four types of market failure as possible explanations: First, while the benefits of natural or social capital depletion can usually be privatised, the costs are often externalised i.

Second, natural capital is often undervalued by society since we are not fully aware of the real cost of the depletion of natural capital. Information asymmetry is a third reason—often the link between cause and effect is obscured, making it difficult for actors to make informed choices. Cohen and Winn close with the realization that contrary to economic theory many firms are not perfect optimisers. They postulate that firms often do not optimise resource allocation because they are caught in a "business as usual" mentality.

Sustainable Agriculture: Unifying Concepts

Main page: Education for sustainable development. Education must be revisited in light of a renewed vision of sustainable human and social development that is both equitable and viable. When nations ensure that such an education is accessible to all throughout their lives, a quiet revolution is set in motion: education becomes the engine of sustainable development and the key to a better world. It has been argued that since the s, the concept of sustainable development has changed from "conservation management" to "economic development", whereby the original meaning of the concept has been stretched somewhat.

In the s, the international community realised that many African countries needed national plans to safeguard wildlife habitats, and that rural areas had to confront the limits imposed by soil, climate and water availability. This was a strategy of conservation management. In the s, however, the focus shifted to the broader issues of the provisioning of basic human needs, community participation as well as appropriate technology use throughout the developing countries and not just in Africa.

This was a strategy of economic development, and the strategy was carried even further by the Brundtland Commission 's report on Our Common Future when the issues went from regional to international in scope and application. But shifting the focus of sustainable development from conservation to development has had the imperceptible effect of stretching the original forest management term of sustainable yield from the use of renewable resources only like forestry , to now also accounting for the use of non-renewable resources like minerals.

Thus, environmental economist Kerry Turner has argued that literally, there can be no such thing as overall "sustainable development" in an industrialised world economy that remains heavily dependent on the extraction of earth's finite stock of exhaustible mineral resources: "It makes no sense to talk about the sustainable use of a non-renewable resource even with substantial recycling effort and use rates. Any positive rate of exploitation will eventually lead to exhaustion of the finite stock.

In effect, it has been argued that the industrial revolution as a whole is unsustainable. One critic has argued that the Brundtland Commission promoted nothing but a business as usual strategy for world development, with the ambiguous and insubstantial concept of "sustainable development" attached as a public relations slogan: [7] : 94—99 The report on Our Common Future was largely the result of a political bargaining process involving many special interest groups, all put together to create a common appeal of political acceptability across borders.

After World War II, the notion of "development" had been established in the West to imply the projection of the American model of society onto the rest of the world. In the s and s, this notion was broadened somewhat to also imply human rights, basic human needs and finally, ecological issues. The emphasis of the report was on helping poor nations out of poverty and meeting the basic needs of their growing populations—as usual.

Sustainable community development: from what's wrong to what's strong - Cormac Russell - TEDxExeter

This issue demanded more economic growth, also in the rich countries, who would then import more goods from the poor countries to help them out—as usual. When the discussion switched to global ecological limits to growth , the obvious dilemma was left aside by calling for economic growth with improved resource efficiency, or what was termed "a change in the quality of growth". However, most countries in the West had experienced such improved resource efficiency since the earlyth century already and as usual; only, this improvement had been more than offset by continuing industrial expansion, to the effect that world resource consumption was now higher than ever before—and these two historical trends were completely ignored in the report.

Taken together, the policy of perpetual economic growth for the entire planet remained virtually intact. Since the publication of the report, the ambiguous and insubstantial slogan of "sustainable development" has marched on worldwide. This article incorporates text from a free content work. To learn how to add open license text to Wikipedia articles, please see this how-to page.

For information on reusing text from Wikipedia , please see the terms of use. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Source: EPA c, p.


Air, Climate, and Energy : Exploring the dynamics of air quality, global climate change, and energy as a set of complex and interrelated challenges. Chemical Safety for Sustainability : Investigating ways of producing chemicals in safer ways and embracing principles of green chemistry. Homeland Security Research : Protecting human health and the environment from the effects of terrorist attacks or accidental releases. Human Health Risk Analysis : Understanding effects of pollutant exposure on biologic, chemical, and physical processes that affect human health.

Sustainable and Healthy Communities : Building a deeper understanding of the balance between the three pillars of sustainability. Safe and Sustainable Water Resources : Maintaining drinking-water sources and systems and protecting water integrity. After the Green Book was issued, EPA also prepared a report Sustainability Analytics: Assessment Tools and Approaches, which provides examples of science-based tools and approaches for conducting sustainability assessments once indicators are selected and corresponding metrics are identified EPA a.

It is not intended to set policy or prescribe a process for implementing sustainability analytics. As discussed in Chapter 3 , the committee used that EPA report as one of its bases for identifying the tools and approaches that it would consider in carrying out its study. In its current strategic plan, the U. Environmental Protection Agency EPA describes a cross-agency strategy to advance sustainable environmental outcomes and optimize economic and social outcomes through Agency decisions and actions. Sustainability has evolved from an aspiration to a growing body of practices. Without losing focus on implementing its existing regulatory mandates, EPA's incorporation of sustainability considerations into its decision-making about potential environmental, social, and economic outcomes involves shifting from a focus on specific pollutants in an environmental medium air, water, or land to a broader assessment of interactions among human, natural, and manufactured systems.

EPA has indicated that it will need to consider the use of a variety of analytic tools and approaches to assess the potential sustainability-related effects of its decisions and actions in response to complex environmental challenges. Environmental Protection Agency examines scientific tools and approaches for incorporating sustainability concepts into assessments used to support EPA decision making. Using specific case studies, this report considers the application of analytic and scientific tools, methods, and approaches presented in the NRC report Sustainability and the U.

Sustainability Concepts in Decision Making also discusses data needs and post-decision evaluation of outcomes on dimensions of sustainability. A broad array of sustainability tools and approaches are suitable for assessing potential environmental, social, and economic outcomes in EPA's decision-making context. The recommendations of this report will assist the agency to optimize environmental, social, and economic outcomes in EPA decisions.

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Get This Book. Visit NAP. Looking for other ways to read this? No thanks. Page 17 Share Cite. Climate Change Two recent scientific assessments find that climate change is already happening and that human activities—mostly related to energy and land use—are the primary cause of most of the change and that the resulting effects could undermine sustainability. Mega-Urbanization More than half the global population is urban, so cities constitute a dominant habitat for humans.

Page 18 Share Cite. Democratization of Knowledge Advances in electronic devices allow broad access to large amounts of information in a society. Materials Renaissance New materials such as graphene, quasicrystals, ceramics, shape memory alloys, nanomaterials, and thermoelectric materials are being developed for industrial applications, such as enhanced production of transportation fuels, absorption of large volumes of oil from seawater by using porous nanostructructured fly ash, production of nanotransistors for microelectronic devices by using nanowires, repair of bones and teeth with biomaterials, treatment of drug-resistant bacterial infections with nanopolymer hydrogels, and purification of large quantities of freshwater at relatively low cost by using hybrid nanoscale materials.

Public-Sector Policies and Initiatives On an international level, the UN conference on sustainable development focused on pragmatic concerns related to sustainability, such as the green economy, green growth, and low-carbon development. Page 19 Share Cite. Page 20 Share Cite. BOX Leading by Example In response to Executive Order , EPA issued comprehensive procurement guidelines to promote the use of materials recovered from solid waste also known as the buy-recycled program. Page 21 Share Cite. Page 22 Share Cite. Four Priorities for Sustainability In addition to establishing the goals and strategies mentioned above, EPA identified four priorities to advance sustainability see Table Page 23 Share Cite.

Page 24 Share Cite. Inform the selection of safer chemicals and technologies. Green chemistry b Design chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the generation of hazardous substances. Sustainable Water Leadership Program d Recognize water and wastewater utilities that demonstrate sustainable management approaches for promoting resource efficiency and protection.

People, Prosperity and the Planet Student Design Competition for Sustainability P3 e College competition for designing projects to advance sustainability—water, energy, agriculture, built environment, materials and chemicals, cookstoves, and green infrastructure. Page 25 Share Cite. For example, through the Sustainable Futures Initiative, EPA worked with industry and nongovernment organizations to develop computer-based models for industry to use in identifying risky chemicals in the early stages of development and in finding safer substitutes or processes before chemicals are submitted to EPA for approval see also the case study on Design for the Environment in Chapter 4 EPA b In addition, EPA issued A Framework for Sustainability Indicators at EPA EPA c , which provides methods and guidance to support the application of sustainability indicators in EPA decision-making.

Page 26 Share Cite. Page 27 Share Cite. Page 16 Share Cite. Login or Register to save! Stay Connected! Measures to enhance electricity-system efficiency that can support the president's Climate Action Plan. Advising on the application of tools and approaches, such as risk assessment, benefit—cost assessment, life-cycle assessment, social cost of carbon analysis, ecosystem-services valuation, and systems analysis for sustainability.

Using workshops and other techniques to encourage an integrated, science-based process throughout the agency. Using a sustainability perspective for planning and allocating funds in all types of activities. Including consideration of best practices in reducing chemical releases into the environment and a broad array of expected impacts, including value-chain impacts. Providing information on tools for remediation that advance sustainability outcomes.