Canada 2030: Scan of Emerging Issues – Sustainability
Over centuries humans have attempted to manipulate their environment to meet their own needs without consideration of potential environmental costs. This was particularly true during the industrial era and has resulted in unsustainable forms of production, consumption, business practice, waste disposal and a host of other economic, social and governance practices. These practices have resulted in a range of issues (including climate change, pollution, environmental degradation and food insecurity, among others) that exceed the carrying capacity of the planet and are threatening the survival of humanity.
Significant efforts have been underway over the past three decades that aim to address some of these issues through “sustainable development”, defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. The discipline opposes traditional paradigms such as “economic growth at all costs” and seeks to strike a reasonable balance between economic, environmental and social dimensions.