S u s t a i n - a b i l i t y
[to nourish, give sustenance to] [to be able]
"A sustainable community uses its resources to meet current needs
while ensuring that adequate resources are available for future generations.
It involves all its citizens in an integrated, long-term planning process
to protect the environment, expand economic opportunities, and meet social
-- CONCERN Inc.
-- OR --
Enough of the Vision already! What are you doing?
by Carolyn Chase
number of local civic, academic, business and governmental
institutions have performed studies related to sustainability or undertaken
long-term planning initiatives. These studies show a consensus of interest
in quality of life, long-term economic health, and sustainability by San
Diego's government, academic, and business leaders.
But none of these studies or initiatives has established
an ongoing forum for education about and involvement in creating a sustainable
To address this need, the newly-formed Sustainability
Network of San Diego held an introductory forum this past November. Participants
included homemakers, farmers, ecologists, organizers, computer professionals,
entrepreneurs, members of the military, energy engineers, air quality experts,
architects, urban planners, academics and many others. Their key common
interest was to take action to bring sustainability into actual practice.
A panel of presenters shared local examples of projects
where principles are being applied that move us in a more sustainable direction.
These projects included large scale industrial applications, pollution prevention,
affordable housing solutions, green building redesign, and organic agriculture
applications on both sides of the border.
Comments from attendees included the following:
" very insightful for me to formulate and reformulate my
views and see how technology and industry/business can work towards sustainability.
It was a very positive place to discuss sustainability and gain new concepts
about making it workable."
Everyone was inspired by the types of projects moving forward. ET will report
on more of these projects in future issues. If you'd like to find out more,
the Sustainability Network of San Diego is holding monthly meetings on the
2nd Wednesday of each month at 6:30pm. Call 272-7370 for location of the
January 10th meeting.
"It's an interesting and exciting group, good energy toward making
"It's encouraging to connect with a network focusing on environmental,
health and people issues."
"I'm looking forward to more networking in the future. It's how we
can learn both what people are doing and understand to how to help others
do it too."
History of sustainable development
This "History" is excerpted from a letter from Mark Spalding,
an environmental attorney involved in the process of fulfilling on the promises
of sustainable development.
" (according to Reinhard Bar-tholomaei of the Department of Law of
the University of Giessen, Germany) Dr. Volker Hauff, a member of the Brundtland-Commission,
has said that the only definition that was acceptable to all members of
the Commission was the famous: 'sustainable development is development that
meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future
generations to meet their needs.' Every attempt, within the work of the
Commission, to put a more concrete meaning to the term failed. Instantly,
the Commission started arguing. At first the Commission did not realize
that it was about to formulate an abstract solution to the global problems.
On their agenda was one sector after the other. In each of them, they could
only agree when applying the inter-generational dimension. In the end, it
was clear to them that sustainable development, or striking a balance between
environment and development, is identical with inter-generational equity.
"Sustainable Development will become a concept such as justice or tolerance.
It will always be abstract. There are many ways to achieve or administer
justice, just look at the differences between the various legal systems.
Yet, no one claims that justice prescribes the one or the other system.
It is the same with sustainable development. There are many different ways
to act responsibly towards present and future generations. The problem is,
it has to be done rather than talked about."