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Sustainable Engineering: Concepts, Design, and Case Studies by David R. Shonnard, David T. Allen

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Chapter 1. An Introduction to Sustainability

1.1. Introduction

Environmental and natural resource issues have gained increasing prominence in the latter half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century. Growing populations and affluence, around the globe, have put increasing pressure on air and water, arable land, and raw materials. Concern over the ability of natural resources and environmental systems to support the needs and wants of global populations, now and in the future, is part of an emerging awareness of the concept of sustainability.

Sustainability is a powerful, yet abstract, concept. The most commonly employed definition of sustainability is that of the Brundtland Commission report—meeting the needs of the present generation ...

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