What is Sustainability?

While sustainability is very real and the signs of our positive growth are everywhere on the Ithaca College campus, sustainability is not a thing. Sustainability is instead a continuous improvement process with no finish line — not a what, but a how.

  • "Sustainability is not a product but rather an ongoing process with no endpoint."
    - former Provost Peter Bardaglio
  • "Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
    - World Commission on Environment & Development: Our Common Future (1987)
  • Chiefs are instructed that when they deliberate on the serious matters of the Council, they are to consider the impact of their decisions on the seventh generation into the future.
    - The Haudenosaunee Seventh Generation philosophy (comprised of the traditional leadership of the Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy)
  • "Sustainable communities foster commitment to place, promote vitality, build resilience to stress, act as stewards, and forge connections beyond the community."
    - Northwest Policy Institute, Seattle, WA
One Definition

"Understanding the interconnections among economy, society, and environment. Equitable distribution of resources and opportunities."
- Sustainable Measures (2002)

Another Definition
Venn Diagram

"... three circles ... The area where the circles overlap is the area of sustainability, the areas of livability - the area where all the threads of quality of life come together. If we are to have it all, we must recognize that these three circles are not separate, unrelated entities."
- Governor of Oregon, John Kitzhaber