Sustainability Criticism

940 Words 4 Pages
Critique on Sustainability
Sustainability is a term thrown around and around by all development professionals, the term is used to justify policies and plans and used to win over citizens votes, however the term is not understood by all and especially those that the term and its usage influences. Sustainability was introduced by the Brundtland Commission as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” which was further refined to include development and reads “sustainable development refers to social, economic, and environmental development that meets the needs of current society without compromising or limiting future development and growth.” this essay looks
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This definition in itself has come under a lot of critique due to its anthropocentric nature, is it fair to perceive human (economic and social) needs over the needs of the environment is the main criticism levelled at this definition. Subsequently alternative definitions have been developed to incorporate all three tiers of sustainability and the three tiers will be touched on. Thus to understand the term sustainability we need to understand the three tiers of sustainability. The broad nature of the definition of sustainability can ultimately lead to its demise if left unchecked.
Firstly environmental sustainability is mainly concerned with the preservation of the natural environment and its resources through long-term maintenance of the environment for the benefit of current and future generations. And therefore an environmentally sustainable system must be able to sustain a stable resource base that avoids over-exploitation of renewable resources, and depleting non-renewable resources to the extent that investment adequately repays the price of the externalities
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Thus a socially system must be able to achieve fairness in opportunities and the distribution of the social services mentioned before.
These three aspects of sustainability create potential complications to the original definitions as these aspects now need to be incorporated and therefore creates a multidimensional approach in which the critiques towards the definition stem and which raises the main question, which aspect would have more value than the other, who decides which is more valuable and how does one judge the success of sustainable development.
The argument is that no single aspect of sustainability should be considered in isolation despite the mainstream practice of focusing only on the economic aspect. This term however is still vague and leaves to much room for interpretation which makes it difficult for policy and law makers to create standards and guidelines towards sustainability. If policy makers have difficulty in creating sustainable policies and legislation is it a cause of

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