What is Sustainable Development?

Why Sustainable Development?

As you have seen above, the current lifestyle in many countries of the world could not be extended to all the world's population without exhausting our planet's resources, and yet other countries are not able to make full use of their resources. As was shown in the first animation, it would take five planets to support humankind if every person were to adopt a US lifestyle; by contrast, we would only use one-third of the planet's capacity if we all lived like an inhabitant of Mozambique (see the picture to the right).

If the current trends in industrialised countries were to continue, either other less-developed countries will not be able to adopt the same lifestyle, or, if they do, this would come at the cost of depleting the Earth's resources. Bringing everyone's lifestyle level with that of a Mozambican is likely to be an unacceptable proposition to many people.

The notion of sustainable development has been put forward as a way of escaping from these dead-end alternatives.

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