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We are seeking a sustainable future for all. That means living within the constraints of renewable resources. Fossil fuels will not last forever. Neither, in the long term, will minerals or those water aquifers that are replenished only very slowly. Renewable resources, such as lumber and fisheries, must be managed carefully to protect their long-term future.

Lake

Sustainability also means respecting ecosystems. We depend on the natural environment in many ways, some of which we do not yet fully understand. We also have a moral responsibility to preserve the great diversity of wildlife.

Finally, sustainability means greater equity. Renewable resources are insufficient for many to live in great luxury, while continued dire poverty is a recipe for resource overexploitation and conflict.

Our vision, then, is of a global community with a relatively equal lifestyle, living in balance with nature and respecting the valid claims of all of its members. Achieving that vision will not be easy. Human impact on our environment, through extraction, consumption and pollution, is significant and increasing. Population and per capita consumption are continuing to rise sharply, even as billions continue to live impoverished lives.

Airplanes on a runway

Relying on only one solution to address the imbalance between our demand for resources and their limited supplies would be unwise. Instead, we believe that a holistic approach is needed. We should reduce waste of our precious resources wherever we can, and continue to develop technologies that provide the same or better products and services while using fewer resources. We should work to improve the living standards of the poorest groups, while encouraging a moderation in consumption by the wealthy and a reduction in the unproductive use of resources. Finally, we should encourage everyone to have a smaller family size, especially as we all live longer. Only by there being fewer of us can we ensure acceptable living standards for all in the long term.