Confusing definitions of sustainability
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.