Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Sustainable development is a central, yet complex and contested term within green politics and debates about the relationship between human societies and their economies and the natural world. The essence of sustainable development is that it integrates a concern for the environment and environmental protection with obligations to present and future human generations. In terms of its most famous definition, contained in the Brundtland Report, Our Common Future: Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts:—the concept of “needs,” in particular the essential needs of the world's poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organisation in the environment's ability to meet present and future needs. (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987, p. 43) ...