Sustainable Development: A Birdâ€™s Eye View
At the turn of the millennium, the worldâ€™s political leadership adopted sustainable development as a leading model for societal development. However, the terms â€œsustainable developmentâ€, â€œsustainabilityâ€ and â€œsustainableâ€ are sometimes over- and misused despite wide consensus about the conceptâ€™s meaning among sustainability scholars and practitioners. While the concept allows various sustainability views to co-exist, random conceptualizations which do not respect the fundamental sustainability principles undermine the conceptâ€™s objective to steer action. This lack of understanding of sustainability arguably inhibits its practical realization and a proper understanding of sustainability is urgently needed. In this paper we aim to contribute to a better understanding of sustainability by adopting a birdâ€™s eye perspective. We review the rich contemporary literature, with a specific focus on the terminology, genesis, fundamental principles, mainstream views of sustainability, and several governing aspects. Further, using the evolving body of sustainability literature, the paper provides arguments to combat common misconceptions of sustainability.
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