Encyclopedia of Sustainability in Higher Education

2019 Edition
| Editors: Walter Leal Filho

Systems Thinking and Sustainable Development

  • Stephen A. HarwoodEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-11352-0_399


Sustainability can be defined as the long-term maintenance of the earth’s resources and environment for the future benefit of all forms of life.


The issues of sustainability and sustainable development have become increasingly part of everyday life, to the point where international policies and agreements have cascaded into practices that somehow address the cradle-to-grave life of the artifacts we use. Sustainable development has been defined in Our Common Future (WCED 1987) as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (WCED 1987). Following the “Earth Summit” in Rio de Janeiro (1992), there has been a succession of UN conferences about sustainable development. However, it was with the Bali Road Map (COP13 2007) that the notion of a holistic approach to sustainable development was presented then reinforced at Rio+20 (UN 2012). Sustainable development is thus acknowledged to...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Edinburgh Business SchoolEdinburghUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Pinar Gökçin Özuyar
    • 1
  1. 1.Ozyegin UniversityOzyeginTurkey