Sustainability can be defined as the ability to be perpetual. The earth we live on and human civilization has this ability. In the 21st century, sustainability is a term used to refer to the biosphere and humanity. Sustainability drives resource exploitation and technological developments. Today, many sustainable activities such as economical use of natural resources and waste management are in line with the activities of all kinds of companies that you can think of distinguishing it from other businesses in its class. Likewise, sustainability also provides economic benefits. Besides, the basic needs and desires of people preserve their potential for the present and the future. It provides changes to keep this potential in balance.
Why Is Sustainability Needed?
Since the first periods of history, human beings have aimed to develop and progress. So, humanity tries to increase the comfort of life, it has improved its environment and its needs have increased constantly. In this process, consumption has increased continuously. The blessings of the world began to decline. Today, all-natural resources, especially energy resources, are depleted and pose a risk for future generations. All these have made sustainability mandatory. In this sense, sustainability is a predatory attitude to rejoice that our ordinary daily necessities were once a luxury for our ancestors. This attitude is incompatible with sustainability.
The History of Sustainability
Sustainability first emerged with the idea that forests should be protected. In 1662, John Evelyn published his essay ‘Sylva’. Evelyn wrote this article in response to the awareness of timber depletion in England. Evelyn argued in this article that in order to prevent the exploitation of natural resources, every landowner should see it as a national responsibility to plant seeds and trees.
In the ongoing process, we can list the studies on sustainability management as follows:
- In 1713 Hans Carl von Carlowitz, a senior mining manager under Elector Frederick Augustus I of Saxony, published his forestry work Sylvicultura Oeconomica. This work was 400 pages long.
- Then, Hans Carl von Carlowitz’s ideas influenced Evelyn and the French minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert. Thus, it developed the forest management concept for continuous efficiency. These Studies influenced Alexander von Humboldt and Georg, Ludwig Hartig. As a result, forest science entered the process of development. This, in turn, affected people like Gifford Pinchot and Aldo Leopold, the first Head of the U.S. Forest Service. The US Forest Service developed its approach to forest management with the idea of using resources wisely. On the other hand, AldoVLeopold’s philosophy of land ethics was influential in the development of the environmental movement in the 1960s.
- Rachel Carson published the work Silent Spring in 1962. Thus, the environmental movement developed. And this movement drew attention to the relationship between economic growth and development and environmental degradation.
- Then, in 1966 Kenneth Boulding determined that the economic system should fit the ecological system with limited resource pools (The Economic of the Coming Spaceship).
- It is the first contemporary use of the concept of sustainability. The Club of Rome published The Limits to Growth report in 1972. A group of scientists led by Dennis and Donella Meadows from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology wrote this report. In this report, the authors describe the “state of global equilibrium” as:
“We seek a model output that represents a world system that is sustainable without sudden and uncontrolled collapse and capable of meeting the basic material needs of all its people”.The Limits to Growth
- Next, an MIT research group set up a session. This session was the first session on sustainable development for the US Congress. The topic of the sessions was “Growth for the Future and Its Application”. Additionally, William Flynn Martin, David Dodson Gray, and Elizabeth Gray prepared the sessions, and John Dingell served as the President of Congress.
- 1987’de Birleşmiş Milletler Dünya Çevre ve Kalkınma Komisyonu, “Ortak Geleceğimiz(Brundtland Raporu)” raporunu yayınladı. Raporda, şu anda sürdürülebilir kalkınmanın en yaygın tanımlarından biri vardı.
Later, the United Nations Charter established principles and agreements in accordance with the principles of the Millennium Declaration. These principles relate to sustainable development, including economic development, social development, and environmental protection. So what is sustainable development?
Sustainable development is a systems approach to growth and development for the welfare of present and future generations, and to the management of natural, produced, and social capital. The term sustainable development used by the United Nations includes both land development issues and broader human development issues such as education, public health, and standard of living.