• Usage of the word “sustainability” is widespread and
    incorporates a plethora of meanings. After reviewing four
    extant sustainability frameworks, we propose a Sustainability
    Hierarchy to structure a broad array of issues that
    have been associated with sustainability. These issues
    vary widely in their urgency, severity and uncertainty of
    consequences, and temporal and spatial dimensions.
    It categorizes actions some view as unsustainable based
    on their direct or indirect potential to (i) endanger the
    survival of humans; (ii) impair human health, (iii) cause
    species extinction or violate human rights; or (iv) reduce
    quality of life or have consequences that are inconsistent
    with other values, beliefs, or aesthetic preferences.
    Effects considered include impediments to the ecosystem
    functions that support human life, human health, and
    species viability. This paper argues that for sustainability
    to become a more meaningful concept, the many worthy
    issues in the fourth category (values, beliefs, and aesthetic
    preferences) should not be considered sustainability concerns.
    Implications for companies, policy makers, and scientists
    are discussed.

  • “Energy and Resources Group, University of California,
    Berkeley, California ”



    Copyright: 10.1021/es040394k CCC: $30.25 ã 2005 American Chemical Society.

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