Sustainable Development The New Bottom Line

In response to the grim realities of climate change, resource depletion, collapsing ecosystems, economic vulnerability, and other converging crises of the twenty-first century, a consensus is emerging among scientists, governments, and civil society about the need for a rapid but manageable transition to an economic system where progress is measured by improvements in well-being rather than by expansion of the scale and scope of market economic activity. We need to measure economic progress by how little we can consume and achieve a high quality of life rather than how fast we can add to the mountains of throwaway artifacts bursting the seams of landfills. We need to measure progress by how quickly we can build a renewable energy platform, meet basic human needs, discourage wasteful consumption, and invest in rather than deplete natural and cultural capital. We need an economic system that replaces brutal and wasteful competition between nations, businesses, and individuals with one that binds us together in cooperative frameworks for solving civilization's most urgent problems. We need an economic system that is firmly ensconced within Earth's ecological limits and guided by our spiritual and ethical traditions. We need an economic system that is diverse, adaptable, and resilient. All these objectives can be grouped under the rubric of sustainable developmentā€”the new bottom line for progress in the twenty-first century.

In 1987 the World Commission on Environment and Development defined sustainable development as meeting "the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Since then, there has been a proliferation of frameworks giving substance to this basic definition by specifying goals, objectives, standards, and indicators of sustainable development for societies as a whole, for broad economic sectors, and for individual institutions. In The Sustainability Revolution, Andres Edwards suggests seven themes or objectives common to all frameworks: stewardship, respect for limits, interdependence, economic restructuring, fair distribution, intergenerational perspective, and nature as a model and teacher.9

Each framework is accompanied by a

A New Bottom Line for Progress unique blend of indicators for measuring progress or lack thereof in advancing these objectives. The remainder of this chapter considers a range of these new indicators, which can be subdivided into two broad categories and two broad types. The basic categories are macro-level indicators developed for economies as a whole and micro-level indicators for institutions or businesses. The two major types include aggregates or "headline indicators" (which attempt to combine individual indicators into a single numerical index) and specific, single-issue indicators. Given past misuses of single indices such as GDP, most sustainability practitioners recognize the need for a suite of indicators balanced across economic, environmental, and social domains.

Solar Panel Basics

Solar Panel Basics

Global warming is a huge problem which will significantly affect every country in the world. Many people all over the world are trying to do whatever they can to help combat the effects of global warming. One of the ways that people can fight global warming is to reduce their dependence on non-renewable energy sources like oil and petroleum based products.

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