Sustainable Development


Lorraine Lander, Canandaigua Unit, Genesee Valley Center, SUNY Empire State College writes:

“Sustainable development is about the interactions of environmental, economic, and social systems in working toward a more sustainable future examined on a large scale. Understanding of systems, their operation and systems concepts such as carrying capacity, resilience, and adaptation will be considered. Topics typically covered include patterns of consuming, producing, and distributing resources. Globalization and social justice both within and across nations will be studied to better understanding the interactions of the important systems we participate in. Methods of assessing sustainable development are also a key concern.”

“Questions that could be considered in studying sustainable development might include further study of what is sustainability and what aspects make development more or less sustainable. What factors contribute to less sustainable practices in the three systems mentioned above? How do cultural values and practices interact with these systems to influence the sustainability of development? What role does ethics and social justice have in considerations of development? Exploration of alternatives to development such as “no growth” and “degrowth” can also be explored.”

Below is a list of resources on this topic. Find a more complete list of resources with links for learning and teaching about this topic on our Pinterest site: Follow Sustainability’s board Sustainable Development and Planning on Pinterest.


Win-Win Ecology: How the Earth’s Species Can Survive in the Midst of Human Enterprise, Michael L. Rosenzweig

The New Science of Sustainability: Building a Foundation for Great Change, Sally J. Goerner

Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization (Substantially Revised), Lester R. Brown

Sustainable Education: Re-Visioning Learning and Change (Schumacher Briefings), Stephen Sterling

Web Resources

Smart Growth Network

U.S. Green Building Council

Components of Green Building | Green Building |US EPA

ENERGY STAR Buildings and Plants