‘Sustainable development’ was defined in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development (the Brundtland Commission) as being development that:

‘meets the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’.

Circumstances have changed markedly since this straightforward definition was proposed.
For instance:
• global population has expanded greatly, thereby exacerbating demands on the Earth’s resources for food, water and minerals
• the natural environment has been seriously damaged by mankind’s activities
• the threat posed by climate change (commonly referred to as ‘global warming’) has been recognized.
Consequently, the scope of ‘sustainable development’ has been amplified ...

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