38. Teaching Sustainability III
In 1987 the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development defined SUSTAINABILITY as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.
If only our grandparents and great grandparents had operated with this definition in their hearts and minds!
We live in a very different time now.
In respect to the U.N. definition of sustainability from 22 years ago, we have to qualify what is meant by needs of the present. If you were to ask people from various regions of the globe what they saw as their present needs, you would get a huge array of responses. There is still a great disparity between “developed”, “developing” and “underdeveloped” countries. World trade, for example continues to operate within a totally unsustainable and unethical framework.
In 2000, the annual report of the Forum for the Future defined sustainable development this way:
“Sustainable development is a dynamic process which enables all people to realize their potential, and to improve their quality of life, in ways which simultaneously protect and enhance the Earth’s life support systems.”
It is the responsibility of our generation to live this definition!
We can excuse our predecessors on the basis of ignorance, but we now know better!
“The voyage of discovery lies not in finding new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust
“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” Albert Einstein
“We need a new environmental consciousness on a global basis. To do this, we need to educate people.” Mikhail Gorbachev