I want to compare some definitions!


Friends of the Earth and the PSI define sustainability in the context of four

principles.  (Elkin 1991).




The effects of any human activity must consider the needs and aspirations of future generations, of your great grandchildren’s great grandchildren. The planetary support systems and a minimum environmental ‘capital’ stock should be maintained.



The full and true environmental cost of any human activity should be taken into account.  The precautionary principle should be used.

It is very difficult to define sustainability constraints, although work is being undertaken on critical loads and habitats.  It is better to define development paths which will not breach possible constraints.



Futurity can be understood as inter-generational equity.  Intra-generational equity, between the first and third worlds, between women and men, between adults and children, the young and the old, the able and disabled people, the poor and the rich, is the third principle of sustainability. The entire planet cannot achieve Western resource consumption levels and these pathways are not sustainable for the long term future.



Participation is a logical result of seriously addressing equity.  Everyone’s views matter. Government becomes responsible for ensuring participatory,co-operative action occurs.  Everyone needs to be enabled to share equally in the processes of decision making and implementation. 


The NHS is having a discussion about this.


What does sustainable mean?

From an environmental perspective something sustainable is capable of being maintained without exhausting natural resources or causing severe ecological or social damage.

In this document sustainability refers to broader sustainability, maintaining the balance between financial, social and environmental factors in order that future generations do not suffer because of the way we live today. 


Are these similar?


One thought on “Sustainability

  1. Pingback: Mapping properly | Clive Durdle's Blog

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