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Beyond Sustainababble

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We live today in an age of sustainababble, a cacophonous profusion of uses of the word sustainable to mean anything from environmentally better to cool. The original adjective—meaning capable of being maintained in existence without interruption or diminution—goes back to the ancient Romans. Its use in the environmental field exploded with the 1987 release of Our Common Future, the report of the World Commission on Environment and Development. Sustainable development, Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland and the other commissioners declared, “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”1


  • Future Generation
  • Capita Emission
  • Common Future
  • Environmental Trend
  • Sustainability Metrics

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Engelman, R. (2013). Beyond Sustainababble. In: State of the World 2013. Island Press, Washington, DC.

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