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probability of running out of essential resources (food, water, and energy) and of being exposed to a harmful
environment. Sustainability reduces many types of risk related to the economy, global climate change,
pollution, natural hazards, and availability of food, water, and energy.
True sustainability also requires zero growth of population and the economy. The scientific term for
this is a ‘steady state’ where inputs equal outputs. For example, zero population growth requires that the birth
rate equal the death rate. Organization such as The Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy
(http://steadystate.org/) advocate for the slowing of economic growth, which depletes natural resources and
causes environmental degradation, in some cases to such a degree that human wellbeing is diminished.
In common use the word development is taken to mean economic growth, but economic growth cannot
be maintained indefinitely in a world with finite resources and space. This type of sustainable development is
preferable to unsustainable development, but it cannot crea...
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- Fall '14
- John C. Ayers