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Sustainability Budget

12 October 2022

Farouk Abdullah

Sustainability Budget

Sustainability is often represented diagrammatically. The figure at the top of this page suggests that there are three pillars of sustainability – economic viability, environmental protection and social equity.

Other dimensions could be represented – for example ‘technical feasibility’, ‘political legitimacy’ and ‘institutional capacity’. Our focus in this course is upon the ‘three pillars’. They can help us to look beyond the complexities of contested terms like ‘development’ (is it positive, is it negative?)

Global population has exceeded 7 billion people in 2015. A century ago there were about 1.6 billion people in the world and in the 1960’s there were about half the people there are today. The population is going to keep on growing although the rate at which it does this is disputed. Each person in the world requires resources to survive and so the strain on the earth to supply these resources will also grow.

Although a bigger population generally means more mouths to feed, there is not an even distribution of consumption patterns throughout the world. One of the biggest indicators of unsustainability is in the misdistribution of wealth. Over a third of the world still live in poverty with limited access to energy, water or food.
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