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What is the Importance of Sustainability?


"Sustainability is the [emerging] doctrine that economic growth and development must take place, and be maintained over time, within the limits set by ecology in the broadest sense - by the interrelations of human beings and their works, the biosphere and the physical and chemical laws that govern it . . . . It follows that environmental protection and economic development are complementary rather than antagonistic processes."
William D. Ruckelshaus, "Toward a Sustainable World," Scientific American, September 1989.



Economic decision making models that do not incorporate other needs of a society, like environmental justice or cultural preservation, eventually also fail in the economically. An economic policy which promotes the stripping of environmental resources for quick profit is doomed to be successful only as long as the resources are available. From this standpoint, maintaining a healthy community and environment can be considered just as valuable a business practice as keeping factories and instruments in good working order.

For North Carolina to continue to be competitive domestically and in the global market over the long term, North Carolina must grow in a sustainable manner. Currently, North Carolina is a domestic leader in banking, manufacturing, research and development, medicine and education, as well as tourism. Concentrating on sustainability initiatives now will provide a thriving and more productive state community that will allow North Carolina to maintain and expand its leadership status.




UNC Chapel Hill: Enst 94/Envr 95 Capstone, Fall 2005

Last Updated: December 17, 2005 (K.N.Baer)