What is Sustainable Development?

There is no one definition of Sustainable Development. The UK Government describes sustainable development as a way of improving the quality of life for people alive now and also for future generations.

In 1987, The World Commission on Environment and Development published a report called, "Our Common Future". It was chaired by the Prime Minister of Norway, Mrs Gro Harlem Bruntland, and has become known as The Bruntland Report. It described sustainable development as being:

"development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

Emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases cause the Greenhouse Effect. This has caused the temperature of the planet to rise. Scientists estimate that the planet has not been this warm for over 1,000 years. Since records began, the seven warmest years have occurred since 1990.

Global warming causes climate change. Droughts kill off crops in developing countries and cause famines while at the same time there are floods causing damage in others.



Flooded street in York, November 2000
Floods in the city of York, November 2000.
Courtesy of Freefoto.com

A brief history of sustainable development

People, Planet and Profits

Test your knowledge on the global picture

Measuring sustainable development