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...


Selected article

The wind, Sun and biomass are three renewable energy sources.
Renewable energy commercialization involves the diffusion of three generations of renewable energy technologies dating back more than 100 years. First-generation technologies, which are already mature and economically competitive, include biomass, hydroelectricity, geothermal power and heat. Second-generation technologies are market-ready and are being deployed at the present time; they include solar heating, photovoltaics, wind power, solar thermal power stations, and modern forms of bioenergy. Third-generation technologies require continued R&D efforts in order to make large contributions on a global scale and include advanced biomass gasification, biorefinery technologies, hot-dry-rock geothermal power, and ocean energy.

There are many non-technical barriers to the widespread use of renewables, and it is mainly public policy and political leadership that are driving the widespread acceptance of renewable energy technologies. Some 85 countries now have targets for their own renewable energy futures, and have enacted wide-ranging public policies to promote renewables. Climate change concerns are driving increasing growth in the renewable energy industries. Leading renewable energy companies include First Solar, Gamesa, GE Energy, Q-Cells, Sharp Solar, Siemens, SunOpta, Suntech, and Vestas.

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A Barrel House — the first new dwelling to be created at Findhorn Ecovillage.
Credit: W. L. Tarbert

The Findhorn Ecovillage project's main aim is to demonstrate a sustainable development in environmental, social, and economic terms.

Selected organization

Kiva partners around the world.
Kiva is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through loans for the sake of alleviating global poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help fund small businesses run by low-income entrepreneurs around the world.

Loans made on Kiva.org provide 0% interest to lenders. Kiva itself charges no interest from the borrower. Borrowers are charged some interest by the respective microfinance institution handling the individual loan. Kiva.org keeps track of how much interest is charged and will not work with those charging unfair or exorbitant interest rates. Kiva borrowers have a historical repayment rate of 100%. Kiva is working with regulators to allow microfinance institutions to offer variable interest rates to lenders.

Kiva enables microfinance institutions around the world to post profiles of qualified local entrepreneurs online. Lenders consist of any individual with a credit card. Lenders browse and choose an entrepreneur they wish to fund. Kiva aggregates loan capital from individual lenders and transfers it to microfinance partners, called "Field Partners", to disburse and administer. As loan repayments are made by the entrepreneur, the Field Partners remits funds back to Kiva. Once the loan is fully repaid, Kiva lenders can withdraw their principal or re-loan it to another entrepreneur.

Selected biography

Dr. John Keith Hatch (born November 7, 1940) is an American economic development expert and a pioneer in modern day microfinance. He is the founder of FINCA International and the Rural Development Services (RDS), and is famous for innovating village banking, arguably the world’s most widely-imitated microfinance methodology.

Founded in 1984, FINCA's purpose was to provide the poorest families, particularly those headed by single-mothers, with loans to finance self-employment activities capable of generating additional household income. FINCA currently operates village banking programs in 21 countries and since 1984 it has assisted over 700,000 families, lending over $340 million (in 2005) to the world's poorest families with a repayment rate of 97%, while also generating enough income to completely cover the operating costs of the field programs themselves.

Moreover, FINCA's methods have been imitated by at least 40 other nonprofit agencies, that have launched an additional 105 village banking programs that have collectively reached another 2 million families worldwide.

Current events

Did you know...

The water cycle


Selected quote

Muhammad Yunas
The poor themselves can create a poverty-free world — all we have to do is to free them from the chains that we have put around them.

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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