Sustainability is an extremely broad and interdisciplinary subject, which entails many aspects of our world from the natural environment to social sciences, the economy, our built cities, and humans themselves. In our current world which is growing exponentially in population, we must aim to meet certain sustainability objectives such as drastically reducing our carbon emissions, discovering and developing technologies to improve our efficiencies, slow our use of limited natural resources, and many others. There are many definitions of sustainability, but most definitions have in common that sustainable development addresses five key principles: quality of life, fairness and equity, participation and partnership, care for our environment, and respect for ecological constraints. In essence, we must strive to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
There are a limited amount of resources on Earth which are exploited on a daily basis to maintain and grow our basic needs such as housing, access to clean water and energy, and food, and at present, our way of living on a global scale is not sustainable. If we are to carry on as we are, the Earth’s natural resources and physical systems will be irreversibly damaged and depleted. Thinking with sustainability in mind will require redesigning many aspects of our lives, from how we work, how we do business, how we eat, shop, and travel, and how we participate in our communities.