Sustainability is a concept that is becoming increasingly used as human societies recognize the finite nature of many natural resources and the lingering ill effects of overconsumption, pollution, and poorly planned land uses. Sustainability is defined as meeting the needs of the current generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, and to do so while maintaining ecological processes, functions, biodiversity, and productivity into the future. An understanding of sustainability includes the scientific basis for sustainable resource use as well as the social and economic implications and/or costs of sustainable practices. Given the state of the global economy, the heavy reliance of both developed and developing nations on increasingly limited supplies of non-renewable energy sources, and the resultant social unrest that is building throughout many parts of the world, understanding the challenges facing society today requires an interdisciplinary perspective of the problems we face in moving toward a sustainable future.
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