Sustainability

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Definitions and Dimensions

Sustainability is today a very common and widely used concept appearing already in nearly 400 million webpages (September 2018). It is a destination [1], a process or behaviour, a quality of a product, and a way of life and societal pathway. It goes from a single and specific perspective or regulatory measure to a more systemic and holistic view, strategy or policy. It is commonly considered to include the social, ecologic/environmental and economic dimensions although recent publications do manage to integrate a more systemic view onto it. The definition mostly used when referring to sustainability is the concept of Sustainable Development within the Brundtland Report:

"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations to meet their own needs."

The following figure shows the graphical expressions of sustainability according to its dimensions (a) or hierarchy and inclusion (b), and including ethical and design principle to support a thriving civilisation (Ehrenfeld) or more complex and holistic (Davison)[2]

Figure X. Diagrams of Sustainability:[3].


Through the lenses of the new 17 SDGs and inspired by the Doughnut framework the following diagram is better able to describe humanity challenges to walk the Sustainability path:

Figure X. Sustainability Doughnut:[4].


The concepts of Prosperity, Resilience, Regeneration, etc...

Sustainability is like a crystal with multiple perspectives according to scale (from local to universal), phase (from design to process and product) and time (today's population and beyond seven generations). A figure from


According to Curran (2009) [5] we have currently several sectors and disciplines integrating Sustainability:

  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Urban Sustainability
  • Industrial Ecology
  • Business Sustainability
  • Sustainable Supply Chain Systems
  • International and National Policies
  • Sustainable Indicators and Metrics
  • Sustainable Process Systems
  • Design for the Environment
  • Sustainable Building Systems
  • Sustainable Tourism (Eco-Tourism)
  • Renewable and Sustainable Energy and Fuels

According to Liu (2009) [6]

  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Cultural Sustainability
  • Sustainability Science
  • Sustainability Transitions
  • Sustainability Education

and more:

Indicators

- Environmental Performance Index (mentioned in [7]) - Ecological Footprint


Current Strategies and Policies towards Sustainability

- prevent and mitigate - reduction - end-of-pipe control strategies (management of toxic chemical and hazardous and radioactive waste and material) [8]


Regeneration as the new Sustainability[edit]

The role of CLIs[edit]

  1. Curran, 2009. "Wrapping Our Brains around Sustainability". Sustainability 1: 5-13. DOI: 10.3390/su1010005
  2. Curran, 2009. "Wrapping Our Brains around Sustainability". Sustainability 1: 5-13. DOI: 10.3390/su1010005
  3. Curran, 2009. "Wrapping Our Brains around Sustainability". Sustainability 1: 5-13. DOI: 10.3390/su1010005
  4. http://17goals.org/get-to-know-the-doughnut-a-tool-for-understanding-sustainable-development/
  5. Curran, 2009. "Wrapping Our Brains around Sustainability". Sustainability 1: 5-13. DOI: 10.3390/su1010005
  6. Liu, 2009. "Sustainability: Living within One’s Own Ecological Means". Sustainability 1: 1412-1430. DOI: 10.3390/su1041412
  7. Liu, 2009. "Sustainability: Living within One’s Own Ecological Means". Sustainability 1: 1412-1430. DOI: 10.3390/su1041412
  8. Curran, 2009. "Wrapping Our Brains around Sustainability". Sustainability 1: 5-13. DOI: 10.3390/su1010005