What is Sustainability?

In general terms, sustainability is the managing of natural resources in an effective manner to meet our needs and to preserve and maintain them for future generations.

Sustainability at the U of L is taken one step further by creating a vision towards a greener campus that enhances student learning experiences and preserves the natural, unique landscape that surrounds the University.

The influences and education provided by the University of Lethbridge go beyond the classrooms and lecture halls, and into the development of the civic responsibility and environmental consciousness.

Why is it important?

Sustainability is important because the planet’s resources are finite. When we talk about sustainability, we mean sustainable development. The term “sustainable development” originated in the 1970s, but was popularized by the United Nations report Our Common Future, the so-called Brundtland Report, which was published in 1987. By 1995 there were at least 70 definitions of sustainable development. Perhaps the most famous definition is also one of the easiest to understand. It comes from the Brundtland Report, which defined sustainable development as:

“development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987).

There are three aspects to sustainability: environmental, economic, and social:

  • Environmental – impacts on global ecosystems.
  • Economic – monetary and financial aspects, sustainable consumption.
  • Social – human rights, labour rights, social justice, corporate social responsibility, security.