“We all have an interest, and a duty to future generations, to ensure that the benefits … that we now take for granted, do not place an intolerable burden on our environment.” This quote from Elliot Morley, the United Kingdom’s Minister of State for Environment and Climate Change, speaking at the International Environmentally Friendly Vehicles Conference in November 2005, describes the relationship between the needs of today’s society and the needs of future societies. Morley is making the argument that every human being, by virtue of living on earth, has a personal responsibility or duty of care to the natural environment, themselves, and the future of the planet. Morley is not claiming that the problems of the future generations must be…show more content… Sustainable development is a relatively new concept, brought about by increasing scientific awareness of the interconnection between the environment and economic development, as discussed at the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. 15 years later in 1987, the World Commission on Environment and Development, also known as the Brundtland Commission, took the concept further to fully define sustainable development, which has helped to shape public policy, business strategies, and individual choices . Sustainable development contains two key concepts:
• The concept of needs, in particular the essential needs of the world’s poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and
• The idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment’s ability to meet present and future needs.
Sustainable development recognizes that the infinite desire for human growth cannot be supported by a finite planet; thus is appropriate to separate sustainability into three major parts, namely environmental, economic, and sociopolitical. As related to development, engineers must treat each one separately, but must understand the interdependencies of all three. According to the Professional Engineer’s Act of Ontario (PEAO), in Section 77 of the Code of Ethics, Article 2 states that “A practitioner shall regard the practitioner’s duty to public welfare as paramount.” It is clear that this systems approach to