What is Sustainability?
Sustainability may be simply defined as the ability of a community to use its natural resources without disrupting the ecological balance. As contained in the 1987 Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, the word sustainability means "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs".
That definition was in 1987, when environment and development issues were still ideals. Today, twenty-two years after that report, we now represent the future generations the report alluded to. Sadly enough, the resources to supply our needs have been compromised, hence we are finding it difficult to meet our needs. In fact, enhancing sustainability is said to be one of the roads to poverty reduction.
If sustainability is to be measured in terms of how our environment fared during the past 22 years, it is quite evident that the concept of sustainability failed. Sustainability in its context today is about the ability of a community to effectively implement the different government regulations and policies in using natural resources, without further compromising the unhealthy condition of our environment.
Today sustainability is a more complex issue. Present day programs for sustainability deal with an environment already degraded and natural resources that have been depleted. There are measures needed to rehabilitate the air, the land and the bodies of water, so that "future generations" of tomorrow will not meet the same fate of what was yesterday's "future generation".