Classic Definition of Sustainability
The 1987 U.N. Brundtland Commission Report, Our Common Future, established the first working definition of sustainability that is still widely used today: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (See http://www.un-documents.net/ocf-02.htm)
Keene State College Definition of Sustainability
The College is currently going through a campus-wide engagement process to define sustainability and determine priorities. We seek to move beyond “mere sustainability” to cultivating a campus environment where the well-being and flourishing of humans and our non-human community members is paramount.
We express our care in many ways, from how we manage our beautiful grounds to the academic and service opportunities we provide. We also express this care in the policies that guide our college. A commitment to environmental sustainability and to personal well-being and that of the larger world is expressed in the College’s Mission and Values, as well as our guiding policy documents (link to “The foundations for Sustainability at Keene State College”).
Sustainability on campus is guided by Yankee pragmatism/ingenuity with an eye toward the leading edge of practice. When you read about some of our projects , you will come to understand this balance. On the one hand, we see sustainability as a way to conserve resources, thereby saving the College money while also saving the planet.
On the other hand, we also look to and learn from the leading edge of sustainability—hence our commitment to “go for the gold” – achieving the sustainability rating of STARS Gold no later than 2020. We are inspired by our higher education colleagues who have already achieved the STARS Gold Status, and we are inspired by leading edge thinking in the sustainability fields, such as the International Living Future Living Community Challenge.
We hope to step out as leaders this spring when we pilot test a new heating source for the campus. If successful, this new heating option would set us ahead of our peers and radically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and overall carbon footprint.