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Sustainable Development

Sustainable development is most generally defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. However, the long history of this concept has embraced different definitions of both needs and development, making it a remarkably pliable term. This conceptual flexibility, coupled with new challenges raised by the analytical needs of those asking questions about the sustainability of particular development efforts, leaves those working in this area of inquiry with several difficult issues to resolve.

Origins

While the resource conservation ideas behind sustainable development can be traced back more than a century, the current focus on this concept coalesced in the 1960s around the work of scholars and researchers such as Rachel Carson and Paul Ehrlich. Carson's ...

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