We are interested in the sustainability of humans within a good life. Former World Bank economist, Herman Daly explains that a "sustainable society must be based on using renewable resources at rates that do not exceed their capacity to renew themselves; using non-renewable resources at rates that do not exceed our capacity to substitute for them; and using no resources at rates that exceed the capacity of the natural world to assimilate or process the wastes associated with their use".
In more day to day language, sustainability is the modest per capita use of Earth resources. Sustainability secures human life quality, here called well-being, within the means of nature in a way that is fair and equitable to all humanity, including future generations, and does not destroy other life forms. Sustainability recognizes the inter relatedness of the environment and the human management of their societies. Sustainability requires that we not consume resources faster than they can be renewed by the ecosystem nor produce wastes faster than the ecosystem can absorb them.
Focusing on human sustainability, we note two behaviour patterns within the control of humans which are certain to be necessary during the twenty first century---modest taking of Earth resources and its necessary corollary, small families. These are the limited throughput and the limited population as defined by Herman Daly. Daly's third condition for sustainability, limited inequality, is a broader interpretation of the center piece of this analysis, gender equity. Limited inequality (fairness and equity) in human relationships makes limited throughput (use of Earth resources), and limited population possible.
(Directory) March 20, 2000