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International Society for Environmental Information Sciences

Environmental Informatics Archives

ISSN 1811-0231 / ISEIS Publication Series Number P002

Copyright © 2006 ISEIS. All rights reserved.



  Paper EIA06-040, Volume 4 (2006), Pages 447-452 = complimentary

Strong vs. Weak Sustainability: The Struggle for a Sustainable Campus

J. H. Dontje*

Sustainability and Environmental Studies Program, Berea College, Berea, KY 40404. *Corresponding author: james_dontje@berea.edu.



The World Commission on Environment and Development's (WECD) 1987 report, "Our Common Future", brought sustainability clearly into the international dialogue on development. The ensuing discussion of sustainability distinguished between "strong" sustainability, with an emphasis on maintaining certain physical aspects of ecological systems intact, and "weak" sustainability, with an explicit acceptance that some of those assets can be transformed or converted to other forms while still maintaining sustainability. Using illustrative examples from Berea College's sustainability initiatives and the process by which they are being realized, the implications of strong and weak sustainability definitions for campus sustainability efforts are explored. An argument is made that explicit articulation of relative positions in regards to strong and weak sustainability will simplify and improve participative decision-making on sustainability issues.

Keywords: sustainability, campus, energy, master planning, decision-making


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