SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT Earlier chapters in this book have identified that the continuing ability of the environment to supply raw materials and assimilate waste while maintaining biodiversity and a quality of life is being increasingly undermined. If growth and development are to take new responsible paths we therefore have to find a way of doing it that will not further degrade the environment in which we live. In its simplest form, sustainable development is defined as development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987). Such a simple statement has profound implications. It implies that, as a minimum, all human activity must refrain from causing any degree of permanent damage through its consumption of environmental resources now and into the future.