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The total environmental impact of a community or of humankind as a whole depends both on population and impact per person, which in turn depends in complex ways on what resources are being used, whether or not those resources are renewable, and the scale of the human activity relative to the carrying capacity of the ecosystems involved.Careful resource management can be applied at many scales, from economic sectors like agriculture, manufacturing and industry, to work organizations, the consumption patterns of households and individuals and to the resource demands of individual goods and services.The philosophical and analytic framework of sustainability draws on and connects with many different disciplines and fields; in recent years an area that has come to be called sustainability science has emerged.
Coal was used to power ever more efficient engines and later to generate electricity.
Modern sanitation systems and advances in medicine protected large populations from disease.
Information generated by reports at the national, regional and city scales confirm the global trend towards societies that are becoming less sustainable over time.
Human impacts on the Earth are demonstrated in a general way through detrimental changes in the global biogeochemical cycles of chemicals that are critical to life, most notably those of water, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus.
The equation is expressed: The metrics used for the measurement of sustainability (involving the sustainability of environmental, social and economic domains, both individually and in various combinations) are still evolving: they include indicators, benchmarks, audits, indexes and accounting, as well as assessment, appraisal Some of the best known and most widely used sustainability measures include corporate sustainability reporting, Triple Bottom Line accounting, and estimates of the quality of sustainability governance for individual countries using the Environmental Sustainability Index and Environmental Performance Index.
According to the 2008 Revision of the official United Nations population estimates and projections, the world population is projected to reach 7 billion early in 2012, up from the current 6.9 billion (May 2009), to exceed 9 billion people by 2050.
This history is characterized by the increased regional success of a particular society, followed by crises that were either resolved, producing sustainability, or not, leading to decline.
The Western industrial revolution of the 17th to 19th centuries tapped into the vast growth potential of the energy in fossil fuels.
It can also refer to a future intention: "sustainable agriculture" is not necessarily a current situation but a goal for the future, a prediction.
The history of sustainability traces human-dominated ecological systems from the earliest civilizations to the present.