What is sustainability?

Sustainability refers to the capability of complex systems to maintain themselves over time.
When used in the context of human activity, sustainability usually has three aspects: social, economic and environmental.

All three aspects must be met if something is to be considered truly sustainable.

Anything which protects the environment by driving people into poverty, or something that supports the economy while undermining environmental services, will inevitably collapse, often with devastating consequences for people today and future generations.

While nothing can be sustained forever, ecosystems, including those with humans, have maintained themselves for tens of thousands of years.
Sustainability and bioenergy

There are a variety of sustainability issues that concern the production and use of biofuels. Below is a list of some of these issues with links to related pages.

  • Economic – Economics
    Energy and climate change – Climate change, Greenhouse gases, Miles per acre, Net energy debate
  • Environmental – Biodiversity, Environmental issues, Erosion, Forests, Invasive species, Land use, Life-cycle analysis, Prairie grasses, Soil, Water, Intensification of agriculture
  • Social – Bioenergy in rural development, Food-versus-fuel debate, Indigenous peoples, Poverty issues
  • Technological – Algae, Fuel traceability, Genetically Modified Organisms, Second-generation biofuels