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There are 3 areas to judge for sustainability. 1. Economic sustainability. 2.Social sustainability. 3. Environmental sustainability.

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Sustainabililty This is meeting the needs of present generations without compromising those of the future. Sustainability aims to improve the quality of people's lives, now and in the future so it links to issues around growth and development, GDP and HDI and broader measures of development. Notice this means we should meet the needs of present generations as well as the future. Thus development aims to improve the quality of life of present generations now, and is part of sustainability. Economic growth (by GDP measure) is now very fast in many poor countries so we are meeting the material welfare side of the definition better than we were, but perhaps threatening the future. The rise of China and India and others is rapidly increasing the demand for finite resources. Oil and mineral supplies may be threatened one day, just as we face global warming soon as the science strongly suggests. Also this might affect the social stability of these fast changing nations. Also renewables are threatened. by Population growth, now 6.5 billion people and expected to rise to over 9 billion in 20 years. ...read more.


The media, consumer pressure, but above all strong and good governments can gradually weed out these practices. Another cause is lack of capital for modern technology. Poor farmers cannot afford modern crop strains, fertilisers or irrigation. They cannot afford to look after their soil and cannot increase yields with modern methods so they over use their land and exhaust it. Economic growth might help and land may be returned to the wild as it has in the US and EU as farm yields have grown so fast with development. Ldcs often desperately need to earn an income so apart from poor regulations and lacking money for enforcement they may be tempted to allow unsustainable exploitation of forest or minerals/oil to meet their present needs. This may be good, Dubai is using its revenues from oil and natural gas to diversify into a business/tourist centre. This may well be good governance and sustainable from their point of view, but using up resources fast is not sustainable for the planet. However in many cases this dash for money is bad for present human development, especially under dualistic elites or dictatorships who may exploit their country for their own use and not use the income development or focus on the poor or equity (Zimbabwe and Burma - oil) ...read more.


Clearly rural neglect is part of the problem. Rising incomes in the poor world will cut birth rates and mean less pressure on the land if it is more productive per acre. Urban migration from this overpopulation and rural neglect is putting immense pressure on water, health and crime. This is not sustainable. Carbon Trading Perhaps the most difficult problem is global warming, which must be tackled globally to bring in the developing world. If permits are given fairly to poorer nations they will gain a surplus as they have not industrialised. This could be a form of aid and would still restrict world carbon emissions f there is a tight world limit and the polluting countries like the US, Europe and China have to buy these permits. This is a big if. Carbon trading is growing, but the big polluters have yet to agree. The poorer countries argue for large quotas of permits, the rich countries disagree, the poor say we should pay for new technology to cut emissions and pay to plant vast forest. No binding agreements have been made yet. The world faces its biggest challenge to sustainability. ...read more.

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