September 18th, 2013

New United Nations initiative on sustainable development comes to campus

Sustainable Development

On Thursday and Friday of this week, world leaders in sustainable development will convene at Columbia’s Earth Institute for a key meeting of the new United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. We at Columbia are privileged to host the SDSN, and know that students throughout the University can play a key role in supporting its work. The SDSN aims to be a critical support to the world community to help make breakthroughs on complicated and unsolved problems, ranging from extreme poverty to climate change.

The core idea of sustainable development is that our society’s ills need a holistic approach, both to understand the problems and to design solutions. As a field of study, such as in Columbia’s undergraduate major, sustainable development means the integrated understanding of the complex systems of the economy, society (including social networks of families, communities, and workplaces), and the physical environment. As an ethical approach, sustainable development aims at three interconnected goals: economic development (including the end of poverty), social inclusion (including the end of gender and ethnic discrimination, and real economic opportunity for all), and environmental sustainability, especially to address dire threats such as human-induced climate change and species extinction.

Read the full article at the Columbia Spectator


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