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Principles

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Definitions

For society to continue developing in the way it has done in the past, we need to pay more attention to our environment. How this is best achieved is often a matter of opinion rather than fact, dependent upon different perspectives of the environment and views of nature. Recently, a concept has emerged that has …

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Diversity

There exists an obvious relationship between the diversity of natural systems (biodiversity) and the diversity, health and sustainability of human systems – cultural, social and economic. Social and economic capital is ultimately created from natural capital, and its protection should be recognised as a fundamental principle of sustainable development. Whilst sustainable development also promotes interdependence …

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Precaution

Most of us would accept that it is wise to prevent potential adversity, even if we are not yet sure how serious (or benign) such adversity may turn out to be. This is the essence of the Precautionary Principle, and defines much of the way we are beginning to respond to the challenges of sustainable …

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Uncertainty

The central pursuit of most science since the Renaissance in the 16th century has been the objective study and resolution of cause-and-effect relationships, for example Newton’s Laws of Motion. It is not surprising, therefore, that most people, particularly policy makers, look to science to provide hard (black and white) evidence that an environmental problem is …

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A traditional definition of sustainable development is development that meets our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Implicit in this definition is the recognition of rights of future generation – the right to achieve a sustainable level of development and the right to be able to utilise natural …

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Equity

In the context of sustainability, the term equity has to do with fairness – whether all people have similar rights and opportunities, basic needs to maintain an acceptable quality of life. Equity, in this context, refers to the idea that all people throughout a community, whether a village, town, city, country or the entire world, …

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Objectives

Securing economic development, social equity and justice, and environmental protection is the goal of sustainable development. Although these three factors can work in harmony, they are often found to conflict with one another. During the latter half of the 20th century economic development for a better standard of living has been instrumental in damaging the …

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One of the key concepts of sustainable development is the interdependence of society, economy and the natural environment. Early human cultures were aware from the beginning of the carrying capacity of their environments, that their existence was dependent upon utilising the environment for resources, but respecting that there are limits to what nature can provide …

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Preferable futures are those we positively hope for and work to create. Such desirable futures are based on our hopes, aspirations and dreams. They embody our notions of what a better world might be like. Some of the criteria available for constructing images of preferable futures are related to commonalities of human experience: sustainability, health, …

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One of the core principles of sustainable development is the “Polluter Pays” Principle. This recognises that the polluter should pay for any environmental damage created, and that the burden of proof in demonstrating that a particular technology, practice or product is safe should lie with the developer, not the general public. Unfortunately, when and how …

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