Sustainability holds many different meanings for many different people in many different places. It can be holistic or specific depending on context.
Understanding of the term has evolved since the first formal adoption of the term “sustainability” in the 1987 report titled Our Common Future, also known as the Brundtland Report, published by the United Nations World Commission on Environment & Development. The report defines sustainability broadly through the lens of development, stating it to be,
Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. (CITATION).
As the momentum of the sustainability movement has grown, perspectives on sustainability have shifted away from only development to include ecological and ethical considerations as well. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes sustainability as the condition under which humans and nature exist in productive harmony so to support present and future generations. For these conditions to exist, there must be an inherent recognition that everything that our society needs for our survival and well-being depends, directly and indirectly, on the health and stability of our natural environment (EPA CITATION).
It is with a view of both of these definitions of sustainability that we at the City of Beaverton strive to inform our work, and to carry it out across the City in a just, equitable manner.