Ocean Mist

Issues and trends shaping our environment, health and economy

Posted by Michael Keating

About The Sustainability Report

Sustainability is about meeting the needs of today without underming the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It requires a sound economic system, healthy people in a equitable society and a healthy environment to support humanity. The Sustainability Report covers sustainability issues and trends, and what they mean for our health and well-being. It will focus on environmental sustainability.

We are at a crossroads in human history. We are changing the environment at a planetary scale, and we are on a collision course with the planet’s ecological limits.

If we keep running down the environment to satisfy our short-term needs and wants, we undermine our future and that of future generations. We must shift to living sustainably. This means living well but staying within the environmental envelope. We need to gear our demands to live off the planet’s income rather than running down its capital. It means connecting environmental, economic and social decisions, and taking a long-term view of what is sustainable.

To make informed decisions, we have to know how we are doing. We need to monitor the overall health of the planet and its ecosystems. We have to know where we are and where trends are taking us. We need to know about problems, progress and options for change.

The Sustainability Report provides an independent, non-partisan source of information on sustainability issues and trends that affect our health, wealth and happiness, and our future.

The goal is to help understand the issues and see the big picture. The report looks at driving forces of change, such as population and consumption trends, at key environmental trends, and changes in attitudes and technologies. It will not only report on changes in various sectors, but will show the interconnections among them.

The report is based in Canada, but takes an international perspective.

The Sustainability Report is produced by Michael Keating , a writer on the environment and sustainability for several decades.

History of The Sustainability Report

The Sustainability Report began in 1998 with the creation of the Sustainability Reporting Program, a collaborative effort by environment and sustainability experts from government, business, the non-government sector and academe. It was supported by a wide range of authorities in the sustainability field, including the former heads of the United Nations Environment Programme and the Earth Summit.

Founding members and supporters included:

Jane Barr, David Bell, John Chenery, Charlie Ferguson, Frank Frantisak, Tammy Gibson, Trevor Hancock, Anne Kerr, Mary MacDonald, Ron Nielsen, Dennis O’Farrell, Ken Ogilvie, Mary Pattenden, László Pintér, Risa Smith and David Wheeler.

Early sponsors of the report included:

Environment Canada, Laidlaw Foundation, York Centre for Applied Sustainability (York University), Pollution Probe, The Conference Board of Canada, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Health Canada, Statistics Canada, DuPont Canada and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.

In 2013, the report was changed to a blog format, to allow faster reporting on developments.

Michael Keating

Michael KeatingMichael Keating has been writing about the environment and sustainability since the 1960s.

He was a national environmental reporter for The Globe and Mail, and has written and edited numerous reports and books on environment and sustainable development, including:

• GEO-4, a United Nations’ global environment report.
• The Earth Summit’s Agenda for Change, a summary of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
• Comprehensive Assessment of the Freshwater Resources of the World, for the Stockholm Environment Institute and the UN Commission for Sustainable Development.
• Canada and the State of the Planet, a book on global environmental change.
• To the Last Drop, a book on Canada and global water issues.
• Toward A Common Future: a report on sustainable development and its implications for Canada, a national paper on sustainability.
• The Report of the Task Force on the Environment, for The Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
• Covering the Environment, a handbook for journalists.

Keating has been associated with environmental studies and journalism programs at several universities. He has taught environmental and sustainability reporting internationally. He was a member of The World Conservation Union’s Commission on Environmental Strategy and Planning, the editorial board of magazine Ecodecision, the Board of Directors of the Canadian Global Change Program, the Secretariat of the National Task Force on Environment and Economy and the International Advisory Board of GLOBE `92.

He created The Sustainability Report in 1998.