Sustainable development is a philosophy of resource consumption that believes that it is best to conserve and preserve for future generations while at the same time meeting current human needs. This term was first used in the United Nation’s Brundtland Commission in 1983 that was chaired Gro Harlem Brundtland, the Prime Minister of Norway. Sustainable development is also concerned with the human degradation of natural systems and the relationship of this process to the future social and economic challenges facing humans. Research in sustainable development has expanded greatly since the Brundtland Commission.Further, many governments and private companies now apply the principles of sustainable development to their bottom line.
The BEES (Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability) model provides a powerful technique for selecting cost-effective, environmentally-preferable building...
Sustainable Society IndexLast Updated on 2014-07-31 13:15:01
When we were looking for a suitable yardstick to measure the level of sustainability of a country a suitable instrument could not be found. Although the main existing indexes were examined we had to conclude that none of them seem to fit our needs completely. The main shortcomings are a limited definition of sustainability, a lack of transparency or high complexity and an absence of regular updates. For this reason, a new index – the Sustainable Society Index (SSI) – has been developed. The SSI integrates the most important aspects of sustainability and quality of life of a national society in a simple and transparent way. Consisting of only 22 indicators, grouped into 5 categories, it is based upon the definition of the Brundtland Commission, extended to the Brundtland+ definition by explicitly including the social aspects of human life.
Using data from public sources,... More »
Food Biodiversity Challenges From a Global PerspectiveLast Updated on 2014-07-25 14:03:15
Food collection or gathering has been an important part of human endeavors towards establishing civilization across the long history of human evolution. Humans have demonstrated their ingenuity in identifying and locating new and novel food sources located in their immediate surrounding and during their migration across the planet. Humans have become more successful than other species because of their better foraging abilities and coordinated group work in identifying and locating novel food sources over time. This trial and error approach has enabled humans over time to identify suitable food sources from their local environments. Over time, humans have identified more species that are edible or could be made edible using primitive to modern day recipes and cooking techniques. These long years of trial and errors have generated a wide range of food sources for... More »
Population-environment theory and contemporary applicationsLast Updated on 2014-07-24 15:49:49Introduction
Humans have sought to understand the relationship between population dynamics and the environment since the earliest times (1-3), but it was Thomas Malthus’ Essay on the Principle of Population in 1798 that is credited with launching the study of population and resources as a scientific topic of inquiry. Malthus’ famous hypothesis was that population numbers tend to grow exponentially while food production grows linearly, never quite keeping pace with population and thus resulting in natural “checks” (such as famine) to further growth. Although the subject was periodically taken up again in the ensuring decades, it wasn’t until the 1960s that significant research interest was rekindled. In 1963 the U.S. National Academy of Sciences published The Growth of World Population, a report that reflected scientific concern about the consequences of... More »
Ecosystem services fact sheetLast Updated on 2014-07-09 17:01:53
This ecosystems services fact sheet is intended to provide an overview of the subject of ecosystem services, e.g. the economic consequences to humankind of benefits provided by the natural environment. This fact sheet was originally developed by the Ecological Society of America (ESA).
Have you ever considered that the cereal you eat is brought to you each morning by the wind, or that the glass of clear, cold, clean water drawn from you faucet may have been purified for you by a wetland or perhaps the root system of an entire forest? Trees in your front yard work to trap dust, dirt, and harmful gases from the air you breathe. The bright fire of oak logs you light to keep warm on cold nights and the medicine you take to ease the pain of an ailment come to you from Nature’s warehouse of services. Natural ecosystems perform fundamental life-support services upon which human... More »
Healthy Community DesignLast Updated on 2014-06-29 19:10:40The way we design and build our communities can affect our physical and mental health. Healthy community design integrates evidence-based health strategies into community planning, transportation, and land-use decisions.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that healthy community design can improve people’s health by:
Increasing physical activity;
Increasing access to healthy food;
Improving air and water quality;
Minimizing the effects of climate change;
Decreasing mental health stresses;
Strengthening the social fabric of a community; and
Providing fair access to livelihood, education, and resources.
According to the World Health Organization, health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of infirmity. A healthy community as described by the U.S. Department of Health and... More »
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