Portal:Sustainable development

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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...


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A solar cell, made from a monocrystalline  silicon wafer.
Appropriate technology is technology that is appropriate to the environmental, cultural and economic situation it is intended for. An appropriate technology, in this sense, typically requires fewer resources, which means lower cost and less impact on the environment.

Proponents use the term to describe technologies which they consider to be suitable for use in developing nations or underdeveloped rural areas of industrialized nations, which they feel cannot operate and maintain high technology. Appropriate Technology usually prefers labor-intensive solutions over capital-intensive ones, although labor-saving devices are also used where this does not mean high capital or maintenance cost.

What exactly constitutes appropriate technology in any given case is a matter of debate, but generally the term is used by theorists to question high technology or what they consider to be excessive mechanization, human displacement, resource depletion or increased pollution associated with unchecked industrialisation. The term has often, though not always, been applied to the situations of developing nations or underdeveloped rural areas of industrialized nations.

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A lodging cottage in a rural area of Lithuania.
Credit: Beny Shlevich

Agritourism is a style of vacation in which hospitality is offered on farms.

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An eco-house at Findhorn with turf roof and solar panels.
Findhorn Ecovillage is based at The Park, in Moray, Scotland near the village of Findhorn. The project's main aim is to demonstrate a sustainable development in environmental, social, and economic terms. Work began in the early 1980s under the auspices of the Findhorn Foundation but now includes a wide diversity of organisations and activities. Numerous different ecological techniques are in use, and the project has won a variety of awards, including the UN-Habitat Best Practice Designation in 1998. A recent independent study concludes that the residents have the lowest ecological footprint of any community measured so far in the industrialised world. Although the project has attracted some controversy, especially regarding the spiritual origins of the community, the growing profile of environmental issues such as climate change has led to a degree of mainstream acceptance of its ecological ethos.

The October 1982 Conference ‘Building a Planetary Village’ hosted by the Findhorn Foundation marked the beginning of serious attempts by the intentional community, which had existed at Findhorn since 1962 to demonstrate a human settlement that could be considered sustainable in environmental, social, and economic terms. The term, ecovillage, later came to be used to describe such experiments.

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Thomas Robert Malthus
Thomas Robert Malthus, FRS (13th February, 176629th December, 1834) was an English demographer and political economist. He is best known for his highly influential views on population growth. He was born to Daniel and Henrietta Malthus, the sixth of seven children. They were a prosperous family, his father being a personal friend of the philosopher David Hume and an acquaintance of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Malthus' views were largely developed in reaction to the optimistic views of his father and his associates, notably Rousseau. Malthus's essay was also in response to the views of the Marquis de Condorcet. In An Essay on the Principle of Population, first published in 1798, Malthus made the famous prediction that population would outrun food supply, leading to a decrease in food per person. He even went so far as to specifically predict that this must occur by the middle of the 19th century, a prediction which failed for several reasons, including his use of static analysis, taking recent trends and projecting them indefinitely into the future, which often fails for complex systems.

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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.

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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

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.


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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 • WaterTemplate:/box-footer

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Sustainable development things you can do
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Architecture • Basic Income • Business • Climate change • Disaster management • Ecology • Education • Energy • Energy development • Environment • Forestry • Globalization • Human rights • International development • Sociology • Systems • Urban studies and planning • Water and sanitation

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