Language and Societies

ANT/LIN 5320 at Wayne State University

Sustainability: Defining Something that Deals with Everything

Sustainability: Defining Something that Deals with Everything

Taylor Monday

Depending on the context in which the word sustainability is used, it has various definitions. These contexts are often conflicting, leaving the true definition of sustainability to be interpreted in many different ways, contributing to its overuse. Currently, the popularity of describing anything as ‘sustainable’ is high, and this phenomenon is shifting overuse to misuse in certain contexts. Through the examination of scholarly literature, the question of how to create a definition of sustainability which encompasses aspects of multiple contexts of use is explored. This paper also examines ways in which sustainability could be measured in order to help create a finite way of classifying whether something is or is not considered sustainable. By creating a precise definition of the word, its overuse and ambiguousness can be minimized. This paper concludes that social, environmental and economic contextual definitions of sustainability, which have been in an evolving formation since the 1980s, are the direct cause of the term’s buzzword status. These multiple contextual definitions of sustainability must be combined in order to create a singular, whole definition that is balanced, inclusive and contemporary.

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April 9, 2014 - Posted by | abstract

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