Portal:Sustainable development

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The Sustainable Development Portal

Environment Equitable Sustainable Bearable (Social ecology) Viable (Environmental economics) Economic SocialSustainable development.svg
About this image
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 waste hierarchy.
Waste management is the collection, transport, processing, recycling or disposal of waste materials, usually ones produced by human activity, in an effort to reduce their effect on human health or local aesthetics or amenity. A subfocus in recent decades has been to reduce waste materials' effect on the natural world and the environment and to recover resources from them. Waste management can involve solid, liquid or gaseous substances with different methods and fields of expertise for each.

Waste management practices differ for developed and developing nations, for urban and rural areas, and for residential, industrial, and commercial producers. Waste management for non-hazardous residential and institutional waste in metropolitan areas is usually the responsibility of local government authorities, while management for non-hazardous commercial and industrial waste is usually the responsibility of the generator.

The waste hierarchy refers to the "3 Rs" reduce, reuse and recycle, which classify waste management strategies according to their desirability. It has remained the cornerstone of most waste minimisation strategies.

Selected picture

A boy from an East Cipinang trash dump slum shows his find, Jakarta Indonesia.
Credit: Jonathan McIntosh

Child poverty concerns poverty of people under the age of 18.

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

Ernst Friedrich "Fritz" Schumacher (16 August 1911 – 4 September 1977) was an internationally influential economic thinker with a professional background as a statistician and economist in Britain. He served as Chief Economic Advisor to the UK National Coal Board for two decades. He is best known for his critique of Western economies and his proposals for human-scale, decentralised and appropriate technologies. According to The Times Literary Supplement, his 1973 book Small Is Beautiful is among the 100 most influential books published since World War II.

Schumacher's basic development theories have been summed up in the catch-phrases Intermediate Size and Intermediate Technology. Schumacher's other notable work is the 1977 A Guide For The Perplexed, which is a critique of materialist scientism and an exploration of the nature and organisation of knowledge. Schumacher was a known friend of Professor Mansur Hoda, whom he had known for many years. He founded the Intermediate Technology Development Group (now Practical Action) in 1966.

Current events

Did you know...

Mean surface temperature anomalies during the period 1995 to 2004 with respect to the average temperatures from 1940 to 1980.

  • ...that global warming (pictured) of the average air temperature rose 0.74 ± 0.18 °C (1.3 ± 0.32 °F) during the past century?


Selected quote

James Hansen
A global tipping point will be reached in 10 years [ 2016 ] if levels of greenhouse gases like methane and CO2 are not reduced. Global warming at this point becomes unstoppable.

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.



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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