Sustainability has been part of the human awareness since the birth of the ancient man on planet Earth. The instinct for survival and wellbeing has never been crystallized in well-structured components for building up webs of instrumental coordinated solutions until the 1980s with the introduction of the most widely quoted and used definition of sustainability. An imperative and collective need put forward by the Brundtland Commission of the United Nations in 1987: “sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
The Earth is a unique planet in our universe with complex functioning structure of systems that support the evolution of complex webs of metabolic processes for sustaining all living forms on Earth.
The man has always struggled for his survival on earth and in particular to get access to and to secure affordable food resources not only for himself but for the new comers as well.
After and during the industrial revolutions, the focus of humans was directed mostly on technical issues to free mankind from manual work, to find resources and technology for basic necessities through mechanical and machinery work. The Man realized the role of science and technology for his wellbeing and since the nineteen and twenty centuries the advances in science and technology emerged more and more to be the only inevitable route for improving the living conditions. This didn’t come for free and price and costs for humans started to be huge with clear finger-print on the accelerating divergence of the three basic drivering wheels of sustainability: economy, environment and social drivers.
Economic interests resulted in increasing consumption of natural resources with severe impacts on degradation of the environment because of increasing waste and pollution, and piling up of social defects in particular the remarkable failure in erasing global poverty. These along with enormous indicators of the declining natural resources as being defined by the so-called resource “peaks”.
The divergence and fragmentation of these drivers and spheres brought considerable, and yet, accelerating threat for the survival of humans. The net result of what humans achieved in science, technology, policies and politics were in direct conflict with not only the search for wellbeing but also the very basic needs for survival.
The major spheres of the functioning and metabolism of all life forms on earth were brought out of their natural equilibrium, e.g. the atmosphere with an increasing temperature because of global warming.
Global warming and accelerating production of waste and pollution have caused enormous damage on the hydrophere with irreversible effects on the ecological resources where humans are dependent on, e.g. fish.
The growing human population still induces additional challenges for achieving the goals for global sustainability developments.
The era of sustainable developments has already started but it is still in its infancy and the needs of the necessary knowledge are enormous in particular what regards building the underlying science and technology as well as the associated management policies in all sectors and on all levels.
For more information on sustainability visit: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainability
Http://sustain-earth.com” is an integrated coherent platform for Applied sustainability. Interests and efforts put by its coordinator and manager of started already through a simple experiment at the age of fourteen. As a young student, at Abo-Tyg/Assiut secondary school, starting to learn chemistry I bought a small amount of hydrochloric acid from my pocket money. I added the acid to a soil sample from the garden, it was a violent reaction in the test tube with evolution of gases. An exciting experiment where drew my attention with the conclusion that there must be geochemical reactions taking place in the environment. This in addition to continuous observations from summer holidays that I spent at the village of my grandfather, Cairo’s Waraa. Some local industries, farmers and poor people of the village, as is the case for many other villages on the Nile, used or you may say “abused” the water of the Nile to do their household needs, e.g. cleaning, washing animal and the removal of waste in general. These events and my experience of the continuous lack of water in the very arid environments prevailing in southern parts of Egypt as it rains one per decade etched an enormous early interest that caused gearing my early geology, chemistry and physics university education towards research on environmental waste, pollution and their impacts on global aquatic systems.
This resulted in an academic career in Environmental Physics a discipline that I created myself with further created further work in Applied Sustainability.