This is a wide-ranging and complex subject. Our Council does not claim to have an exclusive understanding of it and believes that there is no one commonly held vision of a sustainable world. We therefore strive to expand our knowledge and understanding of the concept and promote an open discussion of the various paths to a sustainable future.
DEFINITION TO MISSION STATEMENT
We accept of a common definition of Sustainability: the ability to meet our present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. To achieve a sustainable world requires the long-term viability of interconnected social, economic and environmental systems. Our mission flows from these premises: to bring about a sustainable world by promoting an equitable society, a sound economy and a healthy environment.
INCREMENTAL SUSTAINABLE CHOICES
We recognize that sustainability is not a fixed state, but rather a continuing process in which each decision we make as individuals, organizations, communities, businesses, etc. can either move us closer to or further away from sustaining life on the planet.
A system is sustainable if it can persist for extended periods of time, if not indefinitely. The system can be a society, an economy, a biological region, etc. Sustainable systems exist not by simply maintaining the status quo, but rather by constantly adjusting to changing conditions to reach a new temporary equilibrium. Change is always present because a given system is inexorably linked to other systems, each of which is adjusting to changes emanating from within and elsewhere. Change can be alternately slow and imperceptible or sudden and dramatic.
Choices favoring sustainable outcomes are consistent with fundamental “laws of nature” such as those associated with thermodynamics, chemistry and bio-diversity, but also in response to less understood “laws” governing human behavior such as Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs and total life-cycle cost accounting in economics. Since sustainable systems have evolved consistent with these laws, ignoring them will jeopardize the health of the system.
No simple formula guarantees a sustainable future. Rather, daily one must make the best choices possible to produces more sustainable outcomes. The Sustainability Council commits itself to promoting decisions that lead to the most sustainable outcomes.
Pursuing our mission we encourage sustainable systems such as:
· An economy that is not dependant on people who spend more than they earn consuming finite resources;
· Democratic governments in which increasing numbers of citizens participate;
· Fisheries that can survive to feed future generations;
· Societies whose members have increased rather than decreased access to basic human services;
· Stable population at replacement levels that do not exhaust the earth’s resources.