INTRODUCTION TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Environmental, economic and social well-being for today and tomorrow The idea of sustainable development grew from numerous environmental movements in earlier decades. Summits such as the Earth Summit in Rio, Brazil, 1992, were major international meetings to bring sustainable development to the mainstream. However, the record on moving towards sustainability so far appears to have been quite poor. The concept of sustainability means many different things to different people, and a large part of humanity around the world still live without access to basic necessities. Sustainable development is an eclectic concept, as a wide array of views fall under its umbrella. The concept has included notions of weak sustainability, strong sustainability and deep ecology. Different conceptions also reveal a strong tension between ecocentrism and anthropocentrism. Many definitions and images (Visualizing Sustainability) of sustainable development coexist. Broadly defined, the sustainable development mantra enjoins current generations to take a systems approach to growth and development and to manage natural, produced, and social capital for the welfare of their own and future generations. During the last ten years, different organizations have tried to measure and monitor the proximity to what they consider sustainability by implementing what has been called sustainability metrics and indices. Sustainable development is said to set limits on the developing world. While current first world countries polluted significantly during their development, the same countries encourage third world countries to reduce pollution, which sometimes impedes growth. Some consider that the implementation of sustainable development would mean a reversion to pre-modern lifestyles.
There are many international bodies around the world which are helping the world to protect our environment. Here are few examples: GSG
The Global Scenario Group was founded in 1995 as an independent, international and interdisciplinary body to examine world prospects and ways of fostering a more sustainable and equitable future. GSG research includes analysis of the driving forces, critical uncertainties and stresses on social and environmental systems for each scenario. The Tellus Institute's PoleStar System provides a comprehensive data base and accounting framework for quantifying alternative scenarios, including economic, social, resource and environmental patterns for eleven world regions. The research identifies the policies, values, institutions, technologies, and life-styles required for a sustainable future. The Tellus Institute, along with the Stockholm Environment Institute, convened the influential Global Scenario Group in 1995 as an international and interdisciplinary body to examine alternative futures and the requirements for a transition to sustainability. GSG's work continues on an expanded scale through the Tellus Institute's Great Transition Initiative, a network of several hundred scholars and activists. Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is a CEO-led, global association of some 200 international companies dealing exclusively with business and sustainable development. Its origins date back to the 1992 Rio Summit, when Stephan Schmidheiny, a Swiss business entrepreneur, was appointed chief adviser for business and industry to the secretary general of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), better known as the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit of 1992. He created a forum called "Business Council for Sustainable Development", which went on to Changing Course, a book that coined the concept of Eco-efficiency. The WBCSD was created in 1995 in a merger of the Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World...