Facing the Future

The Hype Over Sustainability

Das Kohlekraftwerk Mehrum und Windräder produzieren am 09.09.2015 Strom in Hohenhameln im Landkreis Peine (Niedersachsen). Nach der EEG-Reform ist der Strommarkt-Umbau für Wirtschaftsminister Gabriel die wichtigste Baustelle bis zur Wahl. Der Staat will sich so gut es geht heraushalten - für das Einmotten alter Kohlemeiler aber viel Geld zahlen. Foto: Julian Stratenschulte/dpa (zu dpa "Gabriel treibt Kraftwerks-Reform voran - Kritik von den Grünen" vom 09.09.2015) [ Rechtehinweis: Verwendung weltweit, usage worldwide ]
Sustainability has turned into an empty buzz word.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The author argues that basing our decisions about sustainability on the needs of future generations is the wrong approach, since we have no way of knowing what the needs of their technical capabilities will be.

  • Facts


    • Our concept of sustainability is based on a 1987 study completed for the United Nations.
    • It defined sustainable development as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.
    • The idea of sustainability has become so pervasive in today’s society that it has become somewhat meaningless.
  • Audio


  • Pdf

The global population has been living beyond its means since last month, according to calculations by environmental organizations.

In the period from January 1 to August 8, mankind apparently consumed more resources than the earth can regenerate in the entire year. We will be living on existing reserves for the rest of the year, according to the environmental activists.

This year marks the earliest Earth Overshoot Day in history. The earth’s resources apparently lasted five days longer in 2015. This, according to the environmental groups, is far from sustainable.

Want to keep reading?

Subscribe now or log in to read our coverage of Europe’s leading economy.