Sustainable Development Origins

Sustainable development has its origins in from back in the 1980’s when this concept was  first truly discussed at a global level.

Sustainable Development origins

The term ‘Sustainable Development’ was first defined in 1987 through what is known as the Bruntland Report or formally ‘Our Common Future’, which became common language at the World’s first Earth Summit in Rio in 1992.

Its definition is:

Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

…  A world in which poverty and inequity are endemic will always be prone to ecological and other crises. Sustainable development requires meeting the basic needs of all and extending to all the opportunity to satisfy their aspirations for a better life.

View the video above, where Severn Suzuki addresses the UN Earth Summit in 1992. You will see that the issues from more than 20 years ago are just as urgent now. Severn addressed the summit 20 years later in 2012. Find out what she is up to now:

Other definitions:

There are many definitions and explanations of what sustainable development is or could be. There is no use getting hung up on a single definition!

In the report Caring For the Earth by IUCN/UNEP/WWF (1991), the definition of sustainable development is:

Improving the quality of human life, while living within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems.

ISO 26000the international standard on social responsibility also explains it well:

The objective of sustainable development is to achieve sustainability for society as a whole and the planet. It does not concern the sustainability or ongoing viability of any specific organisation. 

Forum for the Future follows triggers which indicate future trends impacting sustainable development. Check out their report and concept video above.

Of course our new generation of activists is being lead by this wonderful young woman.