Sustainability: dynamics, pitfalls and transitions


The holistic notion of sustainable development (sd) — i. e. the integrated promotion of social well-being, economic prosperity, and safeguarding of the natural environment — arose with the first signs of the ecological crisis
in the 1960s and 1970s. However, the concept acquired consistency and visibility, above all, with the publication of the Brundtland Report, which defined its scope: “Sustainable development is development that meets the
needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (wced 1987, 43). Later on, Agenda 21, the action plan emerging from the Earth Summit (unced 1992) contained proposals for
action, promoting an idea of governance for sustainability (i.e. with greater involvement and participation of all interested parties, from international institutions to citizens) and taking into account the basic prescriptions of the
Brundtland Report: to provide for current and future human needs and, at the same time, to respect ecological limits.