Free What Do We Mean By Sustainable Development? How Do We Measure It? Critical Thinking Sample
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Sustainable development is development that attempts to account for the future impacts of how we meet our current needs. It is about learning to live within the limited capacity of our ecosystem so that future generations will also have the resources they need to survive. It weighs the economic objectives of continuous growth against the ecological objective of environmental conservation.
Sustainable development will increase our overall quality of life by promoting healthy and environmentally sound practices. For example, when we drive our car to the corner market, we tax the environment as well as our bodies. If instead we walk the short distance to the store, we make the choice that is healthier for our body and for the environment. The goals of sustainable development include ensuring the air is safe to breathe; maintaining high quality water; regulating a stable climate; and maintaining natural landscapes that can support biodiversity.
In terms of affecting international policy, sustainable development calls for a more equitable distribution of resources amongst the rich and the poor nations of the world. The gap in wealth between rich and poor countries will only be reduced if natural and technological resources are allocated equally. This will help ensure the sustainability of global economies.
There are many different metrics for measuring sustainability. They include indicators, indexes, benchmarks, and audits, but there are also others. They are all reporting systems that are applied over spatial (occurring in space) and temporal (occurring over time) scales. Indicators are related to the use of financial, produced, natural, and human capital. An index is a sustainability indicator that combines multiple sources of data, and includes statistics like the GDP per capita, the Air Quality index, the Environmental Performance index, and the Life Expectancy index. A benchmark is a point of reference from which it is possible to evaluate trends and measure progress. Sustainability auditing is used to assess the compliance of companies and organizations to the objectives of sustainable legislation. The ISO 14000 and the ISO 14031 are popular auditing standards for minimizing the extent of pollution.
1. Rubenstein, James M. (2013-03-29). The Cultural Landscape: An Introduction to Human Geography (11th Edition) (Page 31). Prentice Hall. Kindle Edition.
2. United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. (2009). Measuring Sustainable Development. New York: United Nations.
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