Bozeman, Joe F., III Institute for Environmental Science and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Illinois.
Theis, Thomas L. Institute for Environmental Science and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Illinois.
Last reviewed:February 2020
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- Basic concepts
- Ecosystem services
- Natural capital
- The three pillars of sustainability
- The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A harmonious balance of human needs with resource consumption over an extended period of time. Sustainable development is a closely related term to sustainability, described in the 1987 Brundtland Report—issued by the United Nations (UN) World Commission on Environment and Development—as: "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." This definition frames the meaning of sustainability with regard to preservation of critical components of humankind's environmental and social systems. Such components include tangibles such as air and water (Fig. 1), as well as intangibles such as culture. See also: Air; Conservation of resources; Earth; Water
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