The vision of sustainability

There is now doubt: The Earth is no longer as it was before. Here are some items which may indicate part of the state :

  • 0.9 billion people have no access to water for basic needs
  • 2.6 billion people lack access to safe sanitation
  • 1 billion people are undernourished, at the same time that millions more die from diseases of civilization (heart, stroke, cancer, diabetes)
  • By 2050 , the global population could rise from 7 billion to 11 billion .
  • Mortality of children before 5 years of age has increased by 5 % globally.
  • There are huge disparities in income not only between countries (eg Sweden and Sudan) and among the inhabitants of the same country, with a small percentage of people (about 15 %) that enjoy 80 % of global resources.
  • The world’s climate is changing at a very rapid pace causing unimaginable environmental and humanitarian disasters.

The dominant model of production and consumption, unrestrained free market economy and the dominance of finance capital in conjunction with globalization, have contributed to better quality of life for a minority of people, and simultaneously a dramatic deterioration of life of the vast majority of people .
The changes caused on Earth because of the dominant model of production – consumption have caused significant damages to ecosystems and the so-called ” life support systems “. Even the most skeptics of climate change already admit an increase in the average temperature of the Earth at least 1 degree Celsius. Thousands of testimonials on daily news state that if we continue this model of destruction of the natural environment of the planate, the survival of the human species is at risk.
The main cause of climate change is the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas). The energy produced by the combustion drives (essentially) all modern ‘ consumer civilization. The burning of fossil fuels produces carbon dioxide which accumulates in the atmosphere. The increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (and all greenhouse gases) is that exacerbates global warming and the consequent rise in the average temperature of the Earth. This warming has caused and will cause in the next decades very significant problems such as melting ice, extreme weather, extinction of endangered species of flora and fauna, a rapid decline in biodiversity, great increase in the number of environmental refugees, ocean acidification, thinning of the ozone layer, deforestation of tropical forests (the deposits of genetic wealth), and the emergence of new diseases due to worsening climate, large and prolonged economic crisis etc.
The nature and scale of environmental problems require solutions to look not only at local and national level, but mainly at international. They required to establish national and international priorities to address the problem of energy resources and non-renewable resources in general , to take account of the impoverishing problems of Third World countries and equally of the “first”. Furthermore, the rising wave of economic migrants – refugees , the disintegration of the social fabric , sovereignty wasteful and non – rational consumption patterns , etc.
The global community is facing huge dilemmas relating to the dominant social and personal values ​​of modern humans, the distribution of wealth and the consequent political power, the weakening of the overwhelming majority of the states and the dominance of finance capital (“markets “) on the output. The very notion of “progress” was directly related to the level of consumption and the size of private property. High consumption of goods, namely “social recognition,” which essentially means high energy consumption (in various forms ) , thus worsening the greenhouse effect . Our world would be inventing the replacement of oil, a replacement that will not pollute. But at the same time, we must stabilize and reduce medium term world energy consumption, which is not very likely, at least for the next few years. The huge thirst of the industry for oil leads to regional conflicts and wars (Iraq , Iran , Syria), has destabilized vast regions ( North Africa , Middle East), has compromised the Arctic and perhaps a little later the Antarctic, while oil and gas pipes run at tens of thousands of kilometers on land and sea .


The concept of sustainability that appears during the 1990s focuses on the interrelationships between man, society and nature. It contains the environment but also indicates its relationship with issues related to society, economy and development. The use of the term is manifold, but it is accepted as a regulatory authority which regulates the relations developed between the environment, the society, politics and the economy.
Sustainability (in the literature we can also find it as Sustainable Development, but it is not the same) has been defined in many ways, but the most famous definition remains that of the Brundtland Commission, for “Our Common Future » (WCED, 1987 ) : sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs . Another definition says that sustainable development is to improve the quality of life within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems (IUCN, UNEP and WWF, 1991). Sustainable development takes different forms in different societies and environments and is the process by which societies realize this state of dynamic equilibrium called sustainability (Reid, 1995). The concept of sustainability is to give philosophical, economic and practical answers to the major socio-economic and environmental issues of our time. The demand for sustainability affects all people living today and equally the coming generations .

What are the endeavors of sustainability?

    – The prevention of ecological disaster (climate change, destruction of natural ecosystems, water and soil pollution, etc. )
    -Ensuring the health and productivity of ecosystems for future generations to live in a world healthy and productive.
    The elimination of hunger from the world (not just reduce the number of people dying of hunger) .
   – Ensuring acceptable quality of life for all people living in the world today.
  -Peace and cooperation worldwide.

Sustainability is a moral principle or recognition of equal rights between current and future generations. Sustainability can be accessed with the expansion of economic and political democracy or social control over the mode and means of production. Sustainable society means the elimination of unequal distribution of political and economic power and the resulting hierarchical structures , either institutionalized ( eg domination of man over the woman ) or “objective” ( eg domination of the North over the South) (Huckle).