There is a good quote from the EPA website which can be accessed directly from here http://www.epa.org/sustainability/basic info.htm
Sustainability – issue of concerns about social, environmental and economic consequences of rapid population growth, economic growth and resulting consumption of natural resources.
Growth has been spurred by reductionist approach to development and scientific progress.
Focused on making a better car, washing machine or ball bearing – the reductionist path to excellence in small focused matters. This has lead to a disregard to the impact in a broader sense.
Government agencies are now realising the importance of sustainable growth and a systematic view of development.
Cultural adaptability has resulted in modern population that exceeds usual boundaries of ability to reproduce and limiting factors on expansion of species.
Our valuing of capital assets has resulted in reductionist scientific method as only way forward.
Lost sight of world around us as set of systems within systems.
Knowledge of techniques, tools & procedures to secure sustainable the future is an essential requirement.
Holistic systems route to developme helps provide that security.
Gradual move to systems view (past 30 years).
- Although too centred on object of development
- Limiting environment containing system – other systems excluded which has an impact
- Impact comes at later date
New paradigm – “whole systems” design