Sustainable Development

Sustainable development is generally defined as the active management of human resources to provide the greatest benefit today, without compromising the potential benefits to future generations. The World Conservation Union has defined sustainable development as, "improving the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems."

Sustainable development is increasingly becoming a concern as the global environmental risks increase due to the industrial activity and resource consumption in rich countries as well as the actions taken by those trying to exist in poor countries. Although the term development portrays the progress in developing countries more so than industrial ones, sustainable development applies to economic and social progress of all countries without distinction.

The advent of sustainable development could be viewed as a paradigm shift in that this new approach incorporates both economic development and environmental protection. Sustainable development embraces human welfare as the central objective, with the realization that neglect to the quality of this objective can result in detriment to the natural environment.(Eblen and Eblen, 1994, p. 680)


Compiled by

Joshua Bills jdb5@cec.wustl.edu Last updated 10/17/94