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Agenda 21 requires that nations participating in the quest for a more sustainable social, environmental and economic future develop national strategies for their sustainable development. The UK Government bases its vision of sustainable development on four broad objectives: Social progress which recognises the needs of everyone; Effective protection of the environment; Prudent use of natural …

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In ecological terms, the carrying capacity of an ecosystem is the size of the population or community that can be supported indefinitely upon the available resources and services of that ecosystem. Living within the limits of an ecosystem depends on three factors: the amount of resources available in the ecosystem; the size of the population …

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Consumption

Consumption places a strain on natural resources and can lead to increased waste production. Consumption can involve anything from packaged foods to transport, leisure and tourism, and as we increase our demand for these products and services, we are using up valuable resources. Agenda 21 highlights the need to change our consumption and production patterns …

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Energy

Energy is needed for heating, electricity, manufacturing, construction and transportation. Since industrialisation began over 200 years ago economic wealth has been immediately linked with access to fossil fuels for energy production, in the first instance coal, but more latterly oil and gas. The issue of energy consumption has become increasingly important, as concern about the …

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A number of gases in the atmosphere are known as greenhouse gases. This is because they trap heat from the sun that is normally reflected back into space from the Earths surface. By doing this they act like the glass panels in a greenhouse, which let light in and keep heat inside. Without them the …

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Poverty

Because of its multi-dimensional nature, it is complex to provide an accurate definition of poverty and the poor. Poverty is related with a state of physical want regarded as insufficient means to meet minimum needs for nutrition, housing, health and education. It is often aggravated by lack of access to employment opportunities and by various …

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Ecosystems

The term ‘biosphere’ is used to describe the whole sum of living things found on Earth. Usually we think of the biosphere as existing within upper layers of the non-biotic components of the planet, namely the atmosphere, hydrosphere (oceans, rivers and lakes), and soil component of the lithosphere (the Earth’s solid material). In fact, research …

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Sustainability is related to the quality of life in a population or community – whether the economic, social and environmental systems that make up the community are providing a healthy, productive, meaningful life for all community residents, present and future. Whilst not all people and cultures value quality of life in the same way, some …

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In one form or another, energy is constantly flowing through and around us. By ‘energy’ we mean the ability to induce change (to move something or to heat something, for example). Energy is an inherent characteristic of any physical system; everywhere there is change, there is a transformation of energy. Without energy, life would be …

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Everyone is part of today’s environmental problems. We all consume energy and material goods to make our standard of living better, but such consumption produces pollution which gives rise to poorer air quality, acid rain, ozone depletion and very probably global warming. However, we can all equally be part of the solution. Sustainable development encourages …

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