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Sustainable Development

  • By: Yda Schreuder
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Economic and population growth, the availability and depletion of resources, and the absorbing capacity of the Earth and atmosphere are at the core of discussions and concerns about sustainable development. Concerns about sustainable development have a long history, starting with Thomas Malthus, but the use of the term sustainable development is of fairly recent origin. The term found its use in the mainstream debate with the Brundtland Report, commissioned by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), and was put on center stage during the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED; the Earth Summit), held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. With the limits-to-growth debate, concerns about finite resources and the carrying capacity of the Earth ecosystem had become a main preoccupation, ...

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