Visit our Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable web site @ http://acwi.gov/swrr/
Because of the many interpretations of sustainability,
the following are given as the working definitions being used
by the Roundtable:
The Brundtland Commission
“Sustainable development is development that meets
the needs of the present without compromising the ability of
future generations to meet their own needs.” ---
Brundtland Commission, 1983
The Daly Rules for Sustainability
University of Maryland School of Public Policy professor
and former Chief Economist for the World Bank Herman E. Daly
(working from theory initially developed by Romanian economist
Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen and laid out in his 1971 opus "The
Entropy Law and the Economic Process") suggests the following
three operational rules defining the condition of ecological
Renewable resources such as fish, soil, and groundwater must be used no faster than the rate at which they regenerate.
Nonrenewable resources such as minerals and fossil fuels must be used no faster than renewable substitutes for them can be
put into place.
Pollution and wastes must be emitted no faster than natural
systems can absorb them, recycle them, or render them harmless.
Some commentators have argued that the "Daly Rules," being based
on ecological theory and the Laws of Thermodynamics, should perhaps
be considered implicit or foundational for the many other systems
that are advocated, and are thus the most straightforward system
for operationalization of the Bruntland Definition. In this view,
the Bruntland Definition and the Daly Rules can be seen as complementary
-- Bruntland provides the ethical goal of non-depletion of natural
capital, Daly details parsimoniously how this ethic is operationalized
in physical terms. The system is rationally complete, and in
agreement with physical laws. Other definitions may thus be superfluous,
or mere glosses on the immutable thermodynamic reality.
Contact: Ethan Timothy Smith, Roundtable Coordinator,