“meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs”
It articulates the concept of fairness amongst all generations in the use and conservation of the environment and its natural resources.
In the 1980s, Edith Brown Weiss identified the principle of intergenerational equity, in which all generations hold the Earth in common as a trust.Meaning that, people are both beneficiaries entitled to use the environment and its resources, and at the same time trustees (or custodians) with an obligation to pass it on in no worse condition on balance than that in which it was received.
The elements of the principle meet four criteria:
They neither authorise unreasonable exploitation by the present generation nor impose unreasonable burdens on it
They not require predicting the values of future generations and provide flexibility to future generations to achieve their own goals
They be reasonably clear in application to foreseeable situation
They be generally shared by different cultural traditions and acceptable to different economic and political system
How do we achieve intergeneration equity?
Collectively, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent a starting point for intergenerational equity. For further information on the Sustainable Development Goals, click here
What can I do?
Become knowledgeable about SDGs
Make informed, sustainable purchases
Implement personal sustainability practices at home
Be engaged in local community sustainability efforts (Sustainability Calendar)
Make a commitment to take action (Sustainable Singleton Pledges)