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Getting the picture on the problem
Student Research Sheet

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Ecologically sustainable development

Ecologically sustainable Development (ESD) is using, conserving and enhancing the community’s resources so that ecological processes, on which life depends, are maintained and the total quality of life, now and in the future can be increased.

The challenge in taking an ecological sustainable approach to the development is that we need to consider in an integrated way the wide economic, social and environmental implications of our decisions and actions, and that we need to take a long-term rather than a short-term view when taking those decisions and actions.

Australia first announced its commitment to developing an ESD strategy in 1989 when an ESD Summit was held and key principles essential to the achievement of ESD in Australia were developed.

The core objects of the National Strategy on Ecologically Sustainable Development (NSESD) are:

The NSESD recognised a number of issues are of fundamental importance to ESD and these range over sectoral issues such as agriculture, fisheries ecosystem management, manufacturing, and urban and transport planning, and cross-sectoral issues including biodiversity, land-use planning and decision making, changes to government institutions and machinery, water resource management, pricing and taxation, and gender issues.

The importance of community awareness and environmental education is recognised as a fundamental part of the NSESD. Australian Governments are providing funding for education programs, the education sector is ensuring that ESD principles are included in a wide variety of formal and informal programs and many industries are providing broad environmental education.

For further information on ESD contact the community information unit on 1800 803 772 or refer to the Internet at

(Source: Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, Fact Sheet Ecologically Sustainable Department, July 1996)

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