What is Sustainability?

Welcome! This is my first post at this blog, and then I decided to start with a basic question… let´s see what sustainability means.

In dictionaries can be found various meanings for the word “sustain”, for example: “maintain”, “support”, “endure”.

But since the 80’s the term sustainability has been used more in the sense of human sustainability on planet Earth. Then in 1987 came the term from Brundtland Commission (United Nations) “sustainable development“, i.e. development that meets needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

This means that yes, we must meet our current needs (but be careful with what needs means, ok?! This doesn´t means consumerism …) but without compromising the planet’s resources so that our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and all future generations can also have their needs met.

The term sustainability encompasses three important items, called “three pillars”: environmental, social and economic sustainability.

So it is very important not to confuse “sustainability” with “environment” as sustainability doesn´t include only environment but also the social and economic aspects.

Here is a nice video about the concept of sustainability:

I hope you enjoyed it! See you soon!

About Ana Marques

Woman, scientist, consultant. But above all, a common human being, willing to help, share, transform!
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8 Responses to What is Sustainability?

  1. Thank you for highlighting the social and economic aspects of sustainability. I tried watching the video but could not hear the speakers due to the back ground music being front ground noise. Would it be possible to turn down the music so that one can hear the speakers and understand the concept better? Thanks

    • Ana Marques says:

      Thank you for your comments. Sorry, but the video is from YouTube, and I don´t know how to turn down the back ground music. Let me know if I can help you in another way. Kind Regards.

  2. subhasis.C says:

    Sustainability. Good discussion. But what is it? Is it the sustainability of human race as a whole, sustainability of business or sustainability of nonprofit activities?
    What you refer here is “sustainable development“, i.e. development that meets needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. You at the same time cautioned us that “be careful with what needs means, ok?! This doesn´t means consumerism …) but without compromising the planet’s resources so that our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and all future generations can also have their needs met. Good. But who cares?? All that sustainability debates starts when fossil fuel, as scientists talked of the scarcity of fossil fuel.
    Corporations scared!!!! And then efforts came into being that of making people aware of their need and motivate them for less using the scare natural resources without reducing the usage of natural scare resources by the corporations. Is it the duty of the common man only?
    Sustainability, according to my thinking, can only be possible when most of us think of our children, grand and grandchildren and voice our concerns and act accordingly against of those who use common natural resources for their own profit but not for common goods.

    • Ana Marques says:

      Thank you for your comments. About your question, for me is the sustainability of the earth and the human race as a whole, it´s a complete change of paradigm because we are in a point that are necessary changes in several sectors of human life (business included, of course). It´s important don´t forget that sustainability includes three pillars: environment (the easier to understand and often used incorrectly as synonymous of sustainability), social (fairer society for all people, respect for all forms of life, peace among people…), economic (fair profit for companies, because yes, they need to survive).
      Who cares? I care and each day I know more people that also really care, as Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

  3. Great question. I liked the answers in the video. Sustainability is easy for me to define. It is keeping what you do in check with what works without compromise.

  4. You’re welcome. You are right that was written poorly. Here is my revamped definition.
    Sustainability is keeping what you do in check with what works. This has to be done without compromise to your values or those prmoised to your customer.

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