Where did the word "sustainability" originate from? It came from the field of forestry, where it meant that we should not harm or hack more trees than the number growing. It means that the hacking rate should always lower than the growing rate. Then in the nineteen nineties, came the term "Sustainable Development". This term has been recognized worldwide and has gained so much prominence that it is now commonly referred to as SD. Its concepts were born in the report "Our Common Future" (1987) of the World Commission on Environment and Development ("Brundtland-Commission"). Its original concept has been enlarged since the UN conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro (UNCED) in 1992 to cover the Developmental and Environmental policy.
After the Agenda 21 agreement in 1992, a commission was put into being by the UNO to apply the ideals of SD at all levels, be it internationally, nationally or even locally. What made this so much compatible, with all walks of life was its universal appeal- the total betterment of basic living conditions while providing the people with equal opportunities. It aims to provide the current generations with all their demands, while securing and safeguarding the resources for the future ..
Thus, one of its elementary principles is the proper implementation of the problem of distribution. Distribution has to be done to satiate the present, save for the future, and while simultaneously also taking care of the marginal and oppressed sections of society.
The Wuppertal Institute formulated a graph called the "Prism of Sustainable Development". It is a prism with its four apexes representing the four significant social worlds ie the institutional, the ecological, the economic and the social dimensions. The sides of the prism indicate the various ways in which these four worlds are interconnected. There is one one is to one interconnection among all the nodes of the prism.
The entire concept of SD does not only implying a change in the general standards but rather a change in meaning. The term development is generally used in place of growth and more importance is placed on growth with quality being imperative.
This development does not only include an increase in income but essentially an increase in development factors. Then the quality of life and improvement in the standards of living are determined by using commonly accepted standards such as the "Human Development Index" and the prosperity concept of the World Bank.
SD tries to increase awareness about the growing shortage of resources and the fear of the non renewable ones becoming extinct. This is specifically done in industrialized pockets where the population is weak and the consumption of resources is massive. It encourages people to limit their consumption and to look out for other renewable sources. This is imperative to prevent an ecological collapse.
Nowadays other environmental groups are however raising issues that the concept of SD is generally politically driven and the environmental reforms and tasks undertaken are more often than not economically motivated.