Thought this was a great reference, pulled this from AIGA’s Center for Sustainable Design:

There are many formal definitions of sustainability. Perhaps the most widely recognized definition of sustainability was provided by Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland in her 1987 report, Our Common Future:

    “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Other noteworthy perspectives include:

    “Sustainability is an economic state where the demands placed upon the environment by people and commerce can be met without reducing the capacity of the environment to provide for future generations. It can also be expressed in the simple terms of an economic golden rule for the restorative economy: leave the world better than you found it, take no more than you need, try not to harm life of the environment, make amends if you do.”
    —Paul Hawken, The Ecology of Commerce. 1994
    “Sustainability means living on nature’s income rather than its capital.”
    —Murray Gell-Mann, Nobel Prize Winner

And nearly 200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson described a similar ethic, providing evidence that although the term “sustainable development” is new, the concept has been around for a long time:

    “Then I say the earth belongs to each… generation during its course, fully and in its own right. The second generation receives it clear of the debts and encumbrances, the third of the second, and so on. For if the first could charge it with a debt, then the earth would belong to the dead and not to the living generation. Then, no generation can contract debts greater than may be paid during the course of its own existence.”
    —Thomas Jefferson, 1789

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