sustainability means

What does the term ‘sustainability’ mean to you?

Do you think it has a simple, agreed meaning? Where would you go to check out how your meaning compares to a standard one?  A dictionary? What about ‘sustainable farming’?

These terms came into being about two decades ago out of a United Nations global aim, but a Google search will show that there are a lot of published definitions now!   

Below are some websites and some definitions that I have collected from people for definitions of ‘sustainable agriculture’ that are worth a look.  Look for what their definitions have in common and how  they can vary!

1 Landcare – page 4

2 Rural and Environmental Planning Consultants –

3 an on-line dictionary –

4 an English University subject

5 a children’s on-line encyclopedia

6 an organic farmer

7 Wimmera farmers – St Joseph’s Primary School senior class researched sustainability in farming with local farmers and the collated results are on this webpage in the left hand column

8 Voices from overseas (to Australia) collected, with thanks,  at the 2013 World Environmental Educators Congress:

A teacher from Mauritius (rural background) – Sustainability means to me “using resources judiciously and keeping them for future generations”.    The key issues for this are ‘sustainable living’.   For farming  Sustainability in Mauritius, the key issues are growing local v foreign fruits and forests.

A teacher from Kenya (rural and urban background) – Sustainability means to me “enjoying  current resources andensuring enough is available for future generations”.  The key issues for this are: 1 overuse and misuse of resources 2 irresponsibility leading to pollution and 3 degradation of values.  For farming sustainably in Kenya, the key issues are: 1  soil erosion,2 poor farming methods, and 3 lack for markets for farm produce.

A teacher from India (urban background) – Sustainability means to me “developing agriculture, promoting organic farming and plantations of trees. ” The key issues for this are : people for organic farming and trained people for biodiversity.  For farming sustainably in India, the key issues are : new changes this would bring, and it should decerease poverty.

8  an American job market website for agriculture names three main goals for sustainable agriculture: environmental health, economic profitability and social and economic equity   –   

9 meanings of sustainabilitymy collection of Victorian educators opinions on sustainablity definition, its issues and issues for sustainability in farming as word clouds in this 300 kb pdf Sust in farming survey report

10 This is my definition of sustainable farming:
“An holistic view of farming in its environment
which considers all parts of the land, water, air, and living things, both natural and food making,
going healthily into the future
by looking after this whole environment to support the farm as a viable and long-term economic enterprise within a healthy natural environment.”

Go next to:

  • doing your own interview about people’s ideas on sustainability in farming,  and/or
  •  discovering machinery developed by  20th Century Australian Science for farming, which has helped develop the sustainability we have today and/or
  •  discovering some of the rich history of plant breeding in charts for our broad-acre crops, as another aspect of Science contributing long-term to continual improvements in sustainability in farming.

For more learning activities and refences go to 4learning main page

Page updated 15 Jan 2013, 2 June 2013, 7 August 2013, 28/4/2014, 4/8/2014
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