Portal:Sustainable development

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The sustainable development portal

Environment Equitable Sustainable Bearable (Social ecology) Viable (Environmental economics) Economic SocialSustainable development.svg
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Scheme of sustainable development:
at the confluence of three preoccupations. Clickable.

Sustainable development has been defined as balancing the fulfillment of human needs with the protection of the natural environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but in the indefinite future. The term was used by the Brundtland Commission which coined what has become the most often-quoted definition of sustainable development as development that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

The field of sustainable development can be conceptually divided into four general dimensions: social, economic, environmental and institutional. The first three dimensions address key principles of sustainability, while the final dimension addresses key institutional policy and capacity issues.

More about sustainable development and sustainability...


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Earth flag, the symbol of World Earth Day
Sustainability is an attempt to provide the best outcomes for the human and natural environments both now and into the indefinite future. One of the most often cited definitions of sustainability is the one created by the Brundtland Commission, led by the former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland. The Brundtland Commission defined sustainable development as development that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Sustainability relates to the continuity of economic, social, institutional and environmental aspects of human society, as well as the non-human environment.

Many people have pointed to various practices and philosophies in the world today as being useful to sustainability. In order to distinguish which activities are destructive and which are benign or beneficial, various models of resource use have been developed.

Sustainability can be defined both qualitatively in words, and quantitatively as a pair of compound exponentials - the rising one being the life of a system, the declining one leading to death if the final tipping point for intervention is irreversibly past.

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Grameen Bank Building in Dhaka.
The Grameen Bank (Bangla: গ্রামীণ ব্যাংক) is a microfinance organization and community development bank started in Bangladesh that makes small loans (known as microcredit) to the impoverished without requiring collateral. The system is based on the idea that the poor have skills that are under-utilized. The bank also accepts deposits, provides other services, and runs several development-oriented businesses including fabric, telephone and energy companies. The organization and its founder, Muhammad Yunus, were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.

Muhammad Yunus, the bank's founder, earned a doctorate in economics from Vanderbilt University in the United States. He was inspired during the terrible Bangladesh famine of 1974 to make a small loan of $27 to a group of 42 families so that they could create small items for sale without the burdens of predatory lending. Yunus believed that making such loans available to a wide population could ameliorate the rampant rural poverty in Bangladesh.

The Grameen Bank (literally, "Bank of the Villages", in Bangla) is the outgrowth of Muhammad Yunus' ideas. The bank began as a research project by Yunus and the Rural Economics Project at Bangladesh's University of Chittagong to test his method for providing credit and banking services to the rural poor.

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Dr. James E. Hansen
James E. Hansen (born March 29, 1941, in Denison, Iowa) heads the NASA Institute for Space Studies in New York City, a division of Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, Earth Sciences Directorate. Dr. Hansen is an adjunct professor in the Earth and Environmental Sciences department at Columbia University. He is best known for his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in the 1980s that helped raise broad awareness of the global warming issue. He was a vocal critic of the George W. Bush administration's stance on climate change.

Hansen has focused on planetary research that involves trying to understand the climate change on earth that will result from anthropogenic changes of the atmospheric composition. One of his research interests is radiative transfer in planetary atmospheres, especially interpreting remote sounding of the earth's atmosphere and surface from satellites. Such data, appropriately analyzed, may provide one of the most effective ways to monitor and study global change on the earth. Dr. Hansen also is interested in the development and application of global numerical models for the purpose of understanding current climate trends and projecting humans' potential impacts on climate.

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The waste hierarchy


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God forbid that India should ever take to industrialism after the manner of the West...keeping the world in chains. If our nation took to similar economic exploitation, it would strip the world bare like locusts.

Main topics

Sustainable development

Development: Development studies • Economic development • Energy development • Fair trade • Human Development Index • Informal economy • Information and communication technologies for development • International development • Least developed countries • Make Poverty History • Microfinance • Multilateral development banks • Poverty • World Bank Group

Sustainability: Anaerobic digestion • Appropriate technology • Biodegradable plastic • Carbon negative fuel • Ecological economics • Ecological modernization  • Economics of biodiversity • Ecovillage • Energy conservation • Environmental design • Energy development • Environmental technology • Environmental law • Low-carbon economy • Permaculture • Population  • Recycling • Renewable energy • Social sustainability • Sustainable agriculture • Sustainable city • Sustainable design  • Sustainable tourism  • Sustainable transport  • Waste management • Water

Enercon E-66 wind energy converter in Egeln/Germany.

Human/World Population: Human overpopulation • Optimum population • Overshoot (ecology) • Population ageing • Population density • Population pyramid  • Tragedy of the commons   List of countries by population:  List of countries by population growth rate • List of countries by population density • List of sovereign states and dependent territories by birth rate



Related categories

Sustainable development
Development: Country classifications (Least Developed Countries) • Development charities • Development specialists • Development studies • Economic development (Informal economy, Microfinance, Poverty)  • Energy development • Fair trade • Foreign aid by country • Human Development Index • International development • Make Poverty History • Multilateral development banks • Rural community development • Supranational banks (World Bank) • Water supply and sanitation by country  United Nations Headquarters view from the East River.

Sustainability: Advocates • Alternative energy • Anaerobic digestion • Appropriate technology • Biodegradable plastics • Biofuels • Carbon diet • Economics of sustainability • Ecovillages • Energy conservation • Environmental design • Low-carbon economy • Permaculture • Recycling • Renewable energy • Sustainable agriculture • Sustainable technologies • Waste management • Water

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