Montgomery County Class Resources: What is Sustainability?

For the next 12 weeks our President and Founder, Jennifer Woofter, will be teaching a Monday evening class for Montgomery College’s Workforce Development and Continuing Education program titled Introduction to Environmental and Social Sustainability.  Our Thursday blogs will follow the course’s syllabus, and we hope the topics will be interesting and informative for all of our regular readers.

This week, we’re kicking off with “What is Sustainability?” 

As Mathew Stein’s October Blog on Mother Earth News very succinctly describes, in order to develop an effective and comprehensive sustainability plan for a sustainable future, we need a strong definition of what sustainability is. 

The most common definition of sustainability arose from the 1987 World Commission on Environment and Development (the Brundtland Commission), stating:  “Sustainable Development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

This definition was further refined in 1992 via the Declaration of Rio on Environment and Development to include a balance of environmental protection, economic growth and social development.  The diagram below depicts the concept. 

Read Stein’s full blog here, and make sure to note Herman Daly’s rules for defining sustainability for the renewable resource, the nonrenewable resource, and pollutants.