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What is Sustainability?

Sustainability is MORE than just the recycling and the environment. 

Sustainability is not a destination to be reached, but a winding path to be explored and well traveled. ~Leslie Paul Thiele

A widely accepted definition of sustainability is to "...meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" (Brundtland Commission, 1987).

Consisting of 3 legs: Social, Economic and Environment.

According to the EPA, sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment.  Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations. Sustainability is important to making sure that we have and will continue to have,  the water, materials, and resources to protect human health and our environment.

The 4 Principles of Sustainability

1. Sustainability revolves around humans – we recognize that health and happiness are at the core of a sustainable community, and that our actions to protect air, water, and natural resources are necessary to protect our well-being.

2. Sustainability recognizes the larger system – all things are interconnected and work together; seeing how a change to one thing influences another is essential for understanding the impact of our decisions.

3. Sustainability focuses on the elimination of wastes – there is no value or benefit when wasting energy, water, natural resources, money, time, or human capital.

4. Sustainability focuses on the future – change is inevitable, happens quickly, and is often unpredictable.  It is essential to make thoughtful decisions today that will make us more likely to succeed in the future.


For more information, please call (843) 349-5041 or email sustain@coastal.edu