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Living Well Now and in the FutureWhy Sustainability Matters$
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Randall Curren and Ellen Metzger

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262036009

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262036009.001.0001

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What Sustainability Is and Why It Matters

What Sustainability Is and Why It Matters

(p.1) 1 What Sustainability Is and Why It Matters
Living Well Now and in the Future

Randall Curren

Ellen Metzger

The MIT Press

This aim of this chapter is to clarify the idea of sustainability, and to do so in a way that supports a coherent and ethically compelling understanding of sustainability. It identifies the long-term preservation of opportunity to live well as the normative core of the idea of sustainability. It defines a primary ecological concept of sustainability and distinguishes several other concepts, including throughput sustainability and socio-political sustainability. This provides a basis for detailed inquiry into the ethical core of sustainability and the relationships between several forms of sustainability that people have reason to care about. The chapter concludes with a survey of causes and manifestations of unsustainability that are undermining opportunities to live well.

Keywords:   ecological sustainability, planetary boundaries, opportunity, socio-political sustainability, causes of unsustainability, sustainable development

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