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See also: Sustainability
Solar power towers utilize the natural resource of the Sun, and are a renewable energy source. From left: PS10 and PS20 solar towers.
Sustainable development (SD) is a pattern of resource use, that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come (sometimes taught as ELF-Environment, Local people, 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."
Sustainable development ties together concern for the carrying capacity of natural systems with the social challenges facing humanity. As early as the 1970s "sustainability" was employed to describe an economy "in equilibrium with basic ecological support systems." Ecologists have pointed to The Limits to Growth, and presented the alternative of a "steady state economy" in order to address environmental concerns.
The field of sustainable development can be conceptually broken into three constituent parts: environmental sustainability, economic sustainability and sociopolitical sustainability. Contents
1 Definition of Sustainable Development
2 Environmental sustainability
3 Economic Sustainability
4 Three types of capital in sustainable development
4.1 Market failure
4.2 The business case for sustainable development
5.2 Vagueness of the term
6 See also
6.1 Organizations and research
8 Further reading
9 External links
 Definition of Sustainable Development
Scheme of sustainable development: at the confluence of three constituent parts.(2006)
In 1987, the United Nations released the Brundtland Report, which included what is now one of the most widely recognised definitions:
"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts:
the concept of 'needs', in particular the essential needs of the world's poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment's ability to meet present and future needs."
The United Nations 2005 World Summit Outcome Document refers to the "interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars" of sustainable development as economic development, social development, and environmental protection.
Indigenous peoples have argued, through various international forums such as the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the Convention on Biological Diversity, that there are four pillars of sustainable development, the fourth being cultural. The Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (UNESCO, 2001) further elaborates the concept by stating that "...cultural diversity is as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature”; it becomes “one of the roots of development understood not simply in terms of economic growth, but also as a means to achieve a more satisfactory intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual existence". In this vision, cultural diversity is the fourth policy area of sustainable development.
A useful articulation of the values and principles of sustainability can be found in the Earth Charter. It offers an integrated vision and definition of strong sustainability. The document, an ethical framework for a sustainable world, was developed over several years after the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and launched...