- See also: Sustainable development
Sustainability refers generally to the capacity for Earth's biosphere and human civilization to co-exist. It is also defined as the process of people maintaining change in a homeostasis-balanced environment, in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development, and institutional change are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations.
A - F
- The new paradigm may be called a holistic world view, seeing the world as an integrated whole rather than a dissociated collection of parts. It may also be called an ecological view, if the term "ecological" is used in a much broader and deeper sense than usual. Deep ecological awareness recognizes the fundamental interdependence of all phenomena and the fact that, as individuals and societies we are all embedded in (and ultimately dependent on) the cyclical process of nature.
- Fritjof Capra, Gunter A. Pauli (1995) Steering Business Toward Sustainability. p. 3 cited in: Elmer Kennedy-Andrews (2008) Writing Home. p. 13.
- These, then, are some of the basic principles of ecology — interdependence, recycling, partnership, flexibility, diversity, and, as a consequence of all those, sustainability. ...the survival of humanity will depend on our ecological literacy, on our ability to understand these principles of ecology and live accordingly.
- Fritjof Capra The Web of Life (1996) "Epilogue: Ecological Literacy." p.304
- The guiding principle must be that of sufficiency and not waste. At present the world's economic system is governed by waste. The profligacy of that waste has created our various pollution problems and constitutes a danger to the planet's well-being. This is only half-realized. A sustainable economy is one that supplies the needs of all within the possibilities of the planet's health... no two Third World countries are alike in their needs, their potential or in their state of development. A variety of methods will be tried. Some will look more to the Western ideal, some more to the Eastern communistic way of thinking. More and more, however, the nations of the world under the impulse of the sharing of resources, and aiming for sustainable sufficiency, will gravitate towards a democratic socialism, or, as some call it, social democracy.
- Benjamin Creme quoted in The poison of market forces by Patricia Pitchon, Share International magazine (July 1990)
- We also have to create a sustainable economy, one which uses only resources which are renewable and correctly husbanded for future generations. The present economy enjoyed by the developed world is completely non-sustainable. If we continue as we are doing now, there will be no forests; pollution of the rivers, the seas, the air, the land will be so tremendous that disease will decimate humanity.
- Benjamin Creme, The Great Approach (2001)
- Two types of choices seem to me to have been crucial in tipping their outcomes towards success or failure: long-term planning, and willingness to reconsider core values. On reflection, we can also recognize the crucial role of these same two choices for the outcomes of our individual lives.
- Unfortunately a large number of people in many countries are strongly opposed to green technology, for reasons having little to do with the real dangers. It is important to treat the opponents with respect, to pay attention to their fears, to go gently into the new world of green technology so that neither human dignity nor religious conviction is violated. If we can go gently, we have a good chance of achieving within a hundred years the goals of ecological sustainability and social justice that green technology brings within our reach.
- Freeman Dyson, Progress In Religion (2000)
G - L
- What scares me? The way the world is going. People seem to think that development is more important than sustainability.
- Ursula Goodenough, Uncommon Knowledge (2005)
- To find our steady state and solve the sustainability puzzle, we need to abandon the relentless quest for dominance. We need to abandon our visions of progress as growth... Only progress in diversity, equality, and beauty can stand the test of time. We need to live within our limits.
- Steve Hallett, The Efficiency Trap (2013)
- We have an economy where we steal the future, sell it in the present, and call it GDP [gross domestic product].
- At the beginning of the 21st century peace has become pivotal to the survival of society as we know it. The major challenges facing humanity today are global – climate change, lack of fresh water, ever-decreasing biodiversity and over-population. It is hard to over-state the devastating effects that these problems will have on business unless global actions are taken that have the agreement of most nations. No nations or individuals will be untouched.
M - R
- Cybernetics is a young discipline which, like applied mathematics, cuts across the entrenched departments of natural science; the sky, the earth, the animals and the plants. Its interdisciplinary character emerges when it considers economy not as an economist, biology not as a biologist, engines not as an engineer. In each case its theme remains the same, namely, how systems regulate themselves, reproduce themselves, evolve and learn. Its high spot is the question of how they organize themselves.
A cybernetic laboratory has a varied worksheet - concept formation in organized groups, teaching machines, brain models, and chemical computers for use in a cybernetic factory. As pure scientists we are concerned with brain-like artifacts, with evolution, growth and development; with the process of thinking and getting to know about the world. Wearing the hat of applied science, we aim to create what Boulanger,' in his presidential address to the International Association of Cybernetics, called the instruments of a new industrial revolution - control mechanisms that lay their own plans.
- Gordon Pask An Approach to Cybernetics (1961). p. 11. Partly cited in: A.M.E. Salazar, A. Espinosa, J. Walker (2011) A Complexity Approach to Sustainability: Theory and Application. p. 11.
S - Z
- Kamla Bhasin, an Indian feminist who tried to spell out what ‘sustainable development’ could mean for all women in the world lists a number of principles of sustainability similar to the features of a subsistence perspective. It is clear to her, as it is to many women and men who are not blind to the reality that we live in a limited world, that sustainability is not compatible with the existing profit- and growth-oriented development paradigm. And this means that the standard of living of the North’s affluent societies cannot be generalized. This was already clear to Mahatma Gandhi 60 years ago, who, when asked by a British journalist whether he would like India to have the same standard of living as Britain, replied: ‘To have its standard of living a tiny country like Britain had to exploit half the globe. How many globes will India need to exploit to have the same standard of living?’ From an ecological and feminist perspective, moreover, even if there were more globes to be exploited, it is not even desirable that this development paradigm and standard of living was generalized, because it has failed to fulfil its promises of happiness, freedom, dignity and peace, even for those who have profited from it.
- Our deep urge to evolve to a more spiritually mature level of understanding and living, and to create a social order that promotes more justice, peace, freedom, health, sanity, prosperity, sustainability, and happiness, absolutely requires us to stop viewing animals as food objects to be consumed and to shift to a plant-based way of eating.
- THE TERM (Sustainability) HAS BECOME so widely used that it is in danger of meaning nothing. It has been applied to all manner of activities in an effort to give those activities the gloss of moral imperative, the cachet of environmental enlightenment. “Sustainable” has been used variously to mean “politically feasible,” “economically feasible,” “not part of a pyramid or bubble,” “socially enlightened,” “consistent with neoconservative small-government dogma,” “consistent with liberal principles of justice and fairness,” “morally desirable,” and, at its most diffuse, “sensibly far-sighted.”