The term "sustainability" was born partly in an effort to obfuscate to paper the tensions between the fact that societies are overexploiting the planet's physical resources and the fact that the same societies are reluctant to stop this rapaciousness. The terms "sustainable development" and "sustainable growth" do not refer to anything commonly familiar and thus are unlikely to produce the global change in thinking required to reverse the current age of unsustainable developments.
The essntial choice facing humanity is between continued economic growth - between an expanding, interdependent world economy - and the changes in life style - particularly in the developed world - necessary to produce a healthy environment. The largest environmental problems - global warming, destruction of habitat - are essentially caused by economic and population growth. The transition of modern societies to a world of tighter limits - by choice now, or necessity later - requires voluntary reduction in the size of economies and populations to a more sustainable environmental level.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a unique, experimental research work of the Union of International Associations. It is currently published as a searchable online platform with profiles of world problems, action strategies, and human values that are interlinked in novel and innovative ways. These connections are based on a range of relationships such as broader and narrower scope, aggravation, relatedness and more. By concentrating on these links and relationships, the Encyclopedia is uniquely positioned to bring focus to the complex and expansive sphere of global issues and their interconnected nature.
The initial content for the Encyclopedia was seeded from UIA’s Yearbook of International Organizations. UIA’s decades of collected data on the enormous variety of association life provided a broad initial perspective on the myriad problems of humanity. Recognizing that international associations are generally confronting world problems and developing action strategies based on particular values, the initial content was based on the descriptions, aims, titles and profiles of international associations.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.