Sustainability defined

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Sustainability / sustainable development definitions

  • “Sustainability is a condition of existence which enables the present generation of humans and other species to enjoy social wellbeing, a vibrant economy, and a healthy environment, and to experience fulfillment, beauty and joy, without compromising the ability of future generations of humans and other species to enjoy the same.” Guy Dauncey
  • “Growth without cheating our children” unkown author.
  • “Improving the quality of life for all without damaging the environment or the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. From Sustainable Gloucestershire produced by Vision 21
  • Sustainable Development - “ meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.
    The World Commission on Environment and Development
  • “Sustainability means living, working and behaving in a way that will sustain the integrity and biodiversity of the local, regional and planetary ecosystems on which all life depends. It means finding ways to achieve the quality that we seek in our own lives without sacrificing the quality that Earth's many and varied ecosystems need”. Guy Dauncey
  • “Sustainability is the integration of human settlements together with nature so as to meet the requirements of humanity in ways that preserve, upgrade, enrich and evolve the biosphere. A sustainable society is one that can persist over generations, one that is far seeing enough, flexible enough, and wise enough not to undermine either its physical or its social systems of support. "
    From “With Earth in Mind" by David Orr


  • “Taken together, our efforts are like drops of dew that slowly accumulate in the soul of the world, hastening the day when the entire Earth, with all its peoples and creatures, will enjoy harmony and fulfilment”. Guy Dauncey
  • “The future will be green, or not at all. This truth lies at the heart of humankind's most pressing challenge: to learn to live in harmony with the Earth on a genuinely sustainable basis”. Jonathon Porritt


  • “Now is the right time to act. But the government acting by itself is insufficient. Government policies that are not owned by the people will not sustain themselves as governments change”. Gary Lawrence
  • “Achieving sustainable development is perhaps one of the most difficult and one of the most pressing goals we face. It requires on the part of all of us commitment, action, partnerships and, sometimes, sacrifices of our traditional life patterns and personal interests”. Mostafa Tolba, Chairman of the Commission on Sustainable Development
  • “I leave here with the fear that unless we all act now with a renewed commitment, my country and many like it would neither have a voice nor a seat at a future Rio”. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, President of the Maldives.
  • “Do we have to wait until a disaster overwhelms us before we make the radical changes necessary to protect our world for future generations? That is the vital challenge of sustainable development. If we act now there is much that can be saved which will otherwise disappear forever”. John Gummer


  • “We must learn what sustainability means in practice if we are to apply it to our daily lives and restore the health and vitality of our planet”. Sir David Attenborough
  • “There must be a better way to make the things we want, a way that doesn't spoil the sky, or the rain or the land”. Sir Paul McCartney