The criteria for inclusion in the inventory was developed using the definition as articulated by the Brundtland Commission, formally the United Nations' World Commission on Environment and Development:
"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." (UN Documents, n.d., 1.2.1)
Sustainability is interdisciplinary in nature, and each area is assessed according to the following:
- Social Sustainability: considerations include, but are not limited to, social equity, gender equality, personal & public health, community development, cultural diversity, peace & human security, corporate social responsibility, etc.
- Economic Sustainability: considerations include, but are not limited to, energy and resource management, policy and regulations, health economics, true-cost or triple-bottom line analysis, organizational behavior, carbon markets, etc.
- Environmental Systems: considerations include, but are not limited to, ecosystem services, climate change & adaptation, biodiversity, air & atmosphere quality, hydrology, water quality, renewable and non-renewable energy, land use, environmental design, etc.
The courses listed above are either sustainability-focused or sustainability-related. The distinction used is provided by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), as developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). The U of C is a charter participant of STARS:
- Sustainability-focused (core) courses concentrate on the concept of sustainability, including its social, economic, and environmental dimensions, or examine an issue or topic using sustainability as a lens.
- Sustainability-related courses incorporate sustainability as a distinct course component or module, or concentrate on a single sustainability principle or issue. They may complement sustainability-focused courses by providing students with in-depth knowledge of a particular aspect
or dimension of sustainability (such as the natural environment) or by
providing a focus area (such as renewable energy) for a student's
sustainability studies, or they may broaden students' understanding of
sustainability from within different disciplines.
Over the next year the U ofC will begin formal discussions on sustainability in learning and research at the U of C, including an institutional definition of sustainability that includes both faculty and student perspectives and draws upon the diversity of experience available.
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