Environmental Management

, Volume 11, Issue 6, pp 713–719

Global sustainability: Toward definition

Authors

  • Becky J. Brown
    • Institute for Environmental StudiesUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Mark E. Hanson
    • Institute for Environmental StudiesUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Diana M. Liverman
    • Institute for Environmental StudiesUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Robert W. MeridethJr.
    • Institute for Environmental StudiesUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison
Forum

DOI: 10.1007/BF01867238

Cite this article as:
Brown, B.J., Hanson, M.E., Liverman, D.M. et al. Environmental Management (1987) 11: 713. doi:10.1007/BF01867238

Abstract

Sustainability is increasingly viewed as a desired goal of development and environmental management. This term has been used in numerous disciplines and in a variety of contexts, ranging from the concept of maximum sustainable yield in forestry and fisheries management to the vision of a sustainable society with a steady-state economy. The meaning of the term is strongly dependent on the context in which it is applied and on whether its use is based on a social, economic, or ecological perspective, Sustainability may be defined broadly or narrowly, but a useful definition must specify explicitly the context as well as the temporal and spatial scales being considered. Although societies differ in their conceptualizations of sustainability, indefinite human survival on a global scale requires certain basic support systems, which can be maintained only with a healthy environment and a stable human population. A clearer understanding of global sustainability and the development of appropriate indicators of the status of basic support systems would provide a useful framework for policy making.

Key words

Global sustainabilityEcologically sustainable developmentSustainable use of the biosphere

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1987