Environmental Ethics (PHL 310U) |
Analysis of Sustainability |
In response to the prompt: “How does the notion of sustainability, given the Brundtland Report, apply to the environmental issues of population, consumption, and natural resource use?” |
World population reached 7 billion people by October of 2011. This is an issue because overpopulation and over-consumption are said to be main factors in the depletion of resources and cause destruction to our natural environments (Weld). The purpose of this paper is to describe how the concept of sustainability, as it is defined by the Brundtland Report, engages with the environmental issues of population, consumption, and natural resource use based on the required readings and lectures presented in class.
The growth of the world’s economies throughout the 20th century proved to cause visible and dramatic environmental changes. The original suggested response to the damage was to strive towards “zero growth” economies, rather than to continue the historical push for more growth. This concept of zero growth was not embraced by political leaders or businesses alike. In 1987 an alternative suggestion was proposed, known today as the Brundtland Report (WCED 1987), by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The Brundtland Report outlines the implications and importance of “sustainable development.” In his report “sustainable development” (now more communally referred to as “sustainability”) is defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Holland, p. 390). The concept of sustainability affirms that the desire and attempt at a quality life should be sought as long as it is harmonious with the quality of life for all, including people in both the present and future (Holland, p. 391). Rather than to desert economic growth, as originally suggested, the Brundtland...