Sustainability, or sustainable development, is the environmentalist’s call to industry. At present, industry looks to the environment and takes what it wants in order to make a profit. It has no real regard for what it is taking, or the effect on the planet.
Sustainability requires the industrialist to treat natural resources in the same way he treats his bank account. A healthy economy requires capital to be retained, which earns interest that can be spent. If you use capital, the interest declines.
Natural resources work in the same way. Any product, animate or inanimate, has a ‘capital’ which produces an ‘interest’ which can be used. For instance, the interest of a fish stock or forest is a percentage of what it is can replenish itself.
If the amount taken from a natural resource is above the amount it can naturally replenish, then the overall species cannot be sustained. As such, continual use of the capital will eventually remove the resource from the planet.
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