Sustainable Development


ENGR 516: Engineering for Sustainable Development

Assignment #1

Research on the term Sustainable Development

Presented to

Prof. Salah El Haggar


Mohamed Elhadidi

SID: 900-010-417

(February 2010)

    Sustainable Development term and as a trend is a multi dimensional one, it originated in developmental, economic and environmental studies, but extends to have relevance in engineering and other fields. This paper aims at exploring the concept, addressing its history, definition, importance and mechanisms of implementing such trend.

I- History of the Concept:

    Several resources give credit to both Eva Balfour, founder of the Soil Association, the International Institute for Environment and Development, and Wes Jackson, the American geneticist and biodynamic farmer for coining and inventing the term sustainable development. Moreover, most commentators agree the term came to being out of the emerging environmental movement of the 1950s and 1960s, which was concerned about the sever and negative impacts of human activity on the planet that would make the patterns of development unsustainable hurting the future generations, Rachel Carison’s work “Silent Spring” is an example of the manifestations of such movement.[1]

    The first major international recognition enjoyed by the concept was during the United Nations Conference on Human Environment held in Stockholm in 1972. Despite the fact that the term wasn’t referred to explicitly, the international community agreed that development and environment could be managed in a mutually beneficial way rather treated as separate realms or mutually exclusive.[2]

    In the 1987 and after 15 years a semi definition to the term appeared in the report of the World Commission on Environment and Development titled “Our Common Future” and often referred to as the Brundtland Report. This definition is now deemed the 'classic' definition of sustainable development.[3] The next year, the...