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What is sustainable development? Goals, indicators, values and practice

Kates, R., Parris, T. and Leiserowitz, A. (2005) What is sustainable development? Goals, indicators, values and practice. Environment, 47(3), 8-21.

Considering that the concept of sustainable development is now enshrined on the masthead of Environment magazine, featured on 8,720,000 Web pages, and enmeshed in the aspirations of countless programs, places, and institutions, it should be easy to complete the sentence. But the most widely accepted definition is creatively ambiguous: “Humanity has the ability to make development sustainable—to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”3 This malleability allows programs of environment or development; places from local to global; and institutions of government, civil society, business, and industry to each project their interests, hopes, and aspirations onto the banner of sustainable development.

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