Sustainability and Development Methods in the United States
Some of the most common words that we hear almost daily include sustainable development, sustainable community, sustainable industry, sustainable agriculture, etc. If we observe, the term “sustainable” is very common in all these terms. In a layman’s language, sustainability is associated with the quality of life in a community.
This includes the economic, social, and environmental systems that make up the community and are responsible for providing a strong, fruitful, significant life for all community residents, present and future. One of the most common definitions of sustainability is the one created by the Brundtland Commission, led by the former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland. The Commission defined sustainable development as development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
According to a study conducted among 146 countries in the year 2005 on Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI) by environmental experts at Yale and Columbia Universities, it was found that the United States ranked 45th. This study was based on various factors, including past and present pollution, environmental management efforts, waste generation, greenhouse gas emissions, natural resources on hand, and the capacity to improve environmental performance over time.
In fact, even the country that ranks first is only better than the rest of the countries in the concept of sustainability. According to this study, the “United States got good marks for water quality and environmental protection capacity but low scores for waste generation and greenhouse gas emissions.” Besides, there are also data that says that the US constitutes 5% of the world’s population but consumes 24% of the world’s energy. Therefore, the United States cannot be called a sustainable country.