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Principles defining sustainable development
Source: OSEM (Ontario Society of Environmental
Management) Newsletter, 1989, cited in Nelson, J.G. and H. Edsvik. 1990.
Sustainable development, conservation strategies, and heritage. Alternatives
16 (4): 62-71.
- Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the
present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet
their own needs.
- Sustainable development requires the promotion of values that encourage
consumption standards that are within the bounds of the ecologically possible
and to which all can reasonably aspire.
- Meeting essential needs depends in part on achieving full growth
potential, and sustainable development clearly requires economic growth
in places where such needs are not being met.
- Though the issue is not merely one of population size but the distribution
of resources, sustainable development can only be pursued if demographic
developments are in harmony with the changing productive potential of the
- Sustainable development must not endanger the natural systems that
support life on Earth; the atmosphere, the waters, the soils, and living
- Growth has no set limits in terms of population or resource use
beyond which lies ecological disaster ... but ultimate limits there are,
and sustainability requires that long before these are reached the world
must ensure equitable access to the constrained resources and re-orient
technological efforts to relieve the pressure.
- Most renewable resources are part of a complex and interlinked ecosystem
and maximal sustained yield must be defined after taking into account system-wide
effects of exploitation.
- Sustainable development requires that the rate of depletion of non-renewable
resources should foreclose as few options as possible.
- Sustainable development requires the conservation of plant and animal
- Sustainable development requires that the adverse impacts on the
quality of air, water and other natural elements are minimized so as to
sustain the ecosystem's overall integrity.