Sustainable Automobility
Show Less

Sustainable Automobility

Understanding the Car as a Natural System

Paul Nieuwenhuis

If we are part of nature, then so is everything we make. This unique book explores this notion using the example of the car, how it is made and used and especially how we relate to it, with a view to creating a more sustainable automobility.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 3: What is sustainability and what is sustainable?

Paul Nieuwenhuis


Our relationship with the other elements in our 'natural' environment has become framed in the context of the concept of 'sustainability', or 'sustainable development'. This concept emerged in the 1960s, was brought into the mainstream, perhaps, by the Club of Rome report of the 1970s (Meadows et al., 1972), but was really defined by the report of the World Council for Environment and Development, commonly known as the Brundtland report (WCED, 1987) after its chair, former Norwegian prime minister, Gro Harlem Brundtland. Under her guidance the committee offered the following definition of sustainable development: '. . . development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs' (WCED, 1987: 43). The subsequent Rio Earth Summit, masterminded by the United Nations in 1992, 'placed the issue of sustainable development at the heart of the international agenda', as then Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali put it. Sustainable development has come to be understood as aiming for a balance between the economic, the social and the environmental in all our activities. It is on this basis that it has been pursued in the worlds of government and business. Clearly, both are familiar with the economic and, to a lesser extent, perhaps the social, although the environmental still often proves elusive. It is in this context that it is often argued that sustainability is a complex concept. Complex it may be, but that does not make it difficult.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.