Our definition of ecological sustainability
For the University of Gävle, ecological sustainability means the following:
- Conserve the productivity of the waters, the soil and the ecosystems on a long-term basis
- Reduce our impact on the natural environment and people’s health to a level that the natural environment and humanity can handle
- To take long-term sustainability as our starting point in matters regarding products, production, resources and climate and environmental impact
Ecosystems and their services
The ecosystem is defined by the planet’s boundaries, that is the sustainable boundaries for all life on Earth. The services of the ecosystems, like for instance, biological diversity, pollination, food production and different cleaning processes, must be conserved. However, the ecosystems are exposed to pressures, for example pollution, energy production, noise and climate and environmental impact.
To ensure that the development goes in the right direction, we must make long-term sustainability an issue in policies, products, production and resource efficiency.
The planetary boundaries were defined in 2015 by using nine parameters in an article by Will Steffen and a few other researchers at, for example, Stockholm Resilience Center. The parameters that are green can be found within the safe zones for the planet’s productivity, while there are uncertainties or increased risks in yellow zones, and the red ones are high risk zones. The planet’s viability, its boundary, can be found at the intersection, where the green zones meet the yellow ones. The grey wedges represent processes in which boundaries are yet to be quantified.