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Portal:Sustainable development

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The sustainable development portal

Wind powers 5 MW wind turbines on a wind farm 28 km off the coast of Belgium.

Sustainable development is the organizing principle for meeting human development goals while at the same time sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services upon which the economy and society depend. The desired result is a state of society where living conditions and resource use continue to meet human needs without undermining the integrity and stability of the natural system. Sustainable development can be classified as development that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations.

While the modern concept of sustainable development is derived mostly from the 1987 Brundtland Report, it is also rooted in earlier ideas about sustainable forest management and twentieth century environmental concerns. As the concept developed, it has shifted to focus more on economic development, social development and environmental protection for future generations. It has been suggested that "the term 'sustainability' should be viewed as humanity's target goal of human-ecosystem equilibrium (homeostasis), while 'sustainable development' refers to the holistic approach and temporal processes that lead us to the end point of sustainability". The modern economies are endeavouring to reconcile ambitious economic development and obligations of preserving the natural resources and ecosystem, the two are traditionally seen as of conflicting nature. Instead of holding climate change commitments and other sustainability measures as a drug to economic development, turning and leveraging them into market opportunities will do greater good. The economic development brought by such organized principles and practices in an economy is called Managed Sustainable Development (MSD).

The concept of sustainable development has been—and still is—subject to criticism. What, exactly, is to be sustained in sustainable development? It has been argued that there is no such thing as a sustainable use of a non-renewable resource, since any positive rate of exploitation will eventually lead to the exhaustion of earth's finite stock.The United Nations organized an international conference in Stockholm, Sweden from 5 to 6 June 1972.[citation needed]

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Worldwide installed capacity and prediction 1997-2010.
Energy development is the ongoing effort to provide sustainable energy resources through knowledge, skills, and constructions. When harnessing energy from primary energy sources and converting them into more convenient secondary energy forms, such as electrical energy and cleaner fuel, both emissions (reducing pollution) and quality (more efficient use) are important.

Increased levels of human comfort generally induce increased dependence on external energy sources. Conversely, comfort can also be realized with lowered energy consumption by the application of energy efficiency and conservation approaches. Wise energy use therefore embodies the idea of balancing human comfort with reasonable energy consumption levels by researching and implementing effective and sustainable energy harvesting and utilization measures.

Use of any given energy source in human societies encounters limits to quantitative expansion. At the beginning of the 21st century some issues have achieved global dimension. Principal fossil energy sources, such as oil and natural gas are approaching production declines that may occur within the span of a generation (see Hubbert peak hypothesis). Closely linked to energy development are concerns about the environmental effects of energy use, such as climate changes. Energy development issues are part of the much debated sustainable development problem.

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Selected organization

Flag of the United Nations
The Brundtland Commission, formally the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), known by the name of its Chair Gro Harlem Brundtland, was convened by the United Nations in 1983. The commission was created to address growing concern "about the accelerating deterioration of the human environment and natural resources and the consequences of that deterioration for economic and social development." In establishing the commission, the UN General Assembly recognized that environmental problems were global in nature and determined that it was in the common interest of all nations to establish policies for sustainable development.

The Brundtland Commission was recognized for developing the broad political concept of sustainable development and published its report Our Common Future in April 1987. The Brundtland Commission provided the momentum for the 1992 Earth Summit / UNCED and for Agenda 21.

The 1983 the General Assembly passed Resolution — "Process of preparation of the Environmental Perspective to the Year 2000 and Beyond" — establishing the Commission.

Selected biography

Buckminster Fuller
Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller (July 12, 1895 – July 1, 1983) was an American visionary, designer, architect, poet, author, and inventor.

Throughout his life, Fuller was concerned with the question "Does humanity have a chance to survive lastingly and successfully on planet Earth, and if so, how?" Considering himself an average individual without special monetary means or academic degree, he chose to devote his life to this question, trying to find out what an individual like him could do to improve humanity's condition that large organizations, governments, or private enterprises inherently could not do.

Pursuing this lifelong experiment, Fuller wrote twenty-eight books, coining and popularizing terms such as "spaceship earth", ephemeralization, and synergetics. He also worked in the development of numerous inventions, chiefly in the fields of design and architecture, the best known of which is the geodesic dome. Carbon molecules known as buckyballs were named for their resemblance to a geodesic sphere.

Current events

Did you know...

Fremantle Markets

  • ...that the Fruit and Vegetable Hall at the Fremantle Markets (pictured) was rebuilt using recycled materials following a fire in 1992?
  • ...that in 2001, about 1.1 billion people had extreme poverty consumption levels below $1 a day and 2.7 billion lived on less than $2 a day?


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Amory Lovins
What we thought of as isolated pathologies, scarcities of work or hope or security or satisfaction, are not isolated at all, in fact they're intimately related, they're all caused by the same thing, namely the interlocking waste of resources, of money, and of people.

Main topics

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

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

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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