sustainable development is often defined as fulfilling society’s needs of today without risking the needs of tomorrow. This involves a host of social, political and economic issues. Seen from an Earth Sciences perspective, the core issue in Sustainable Development is the exploitation of natural resources in such a manner that the resource base for the future does not become unviable at the same time as the environmental loads inevitably caused by our exploitation of the natural resource do not cause unacceptable problems, now or in the future.
Therefore many areas of Earth Sciences are centrally important in understanding sustainability and planning for the future. Relevant areas include the identification and quantification of natural resources such as oil, water and metals; the analysis of previous and possible future climate change, including biological impact and possible anthropogenically induced effects; the management of water resources; the investigation of pollution from industry and agriculture; and assess the possible impact of future major natural disasters.
The wide scope of competence with the Department of Earth Sciences together with interaction with Centre for Sustainable Development provide a strong base for research and education for sustainability, including both Earth Sciences and socio-political perspectives, allowing the maintenance of Uppsala’s traditional broad and very international perspective in this area. The University offers many relevant education programs, not least a Master program in Sustainable Development carried out in collaboration with Sweden’s National Agricultural University (SLU), also based in Uppsala.