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The three pillars of sustainabiityThis guide provides resources for people interested in sustainability, in general, and offers support for teaching, learning and research at Temple University.  

This image shows the 'three pillars' of sustainability. Sustainability recognizes the interactions between the environment, social justice and economics.  "Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."[1]


The Temple Definition of Sustainability

The study of sustainability addresses core questions regarding the nature of “the good life” and ways to organize societies that sustain the well-being of the biosphere for now and in the future. Sustainable perspectives weave together disparate ways of thinking, integrate knowledge from different disciplines, and consider both global and local issues and the relationships between them. At Temple University, sustainable curricula, operations, research, and engagement address systemic connections among five interrelated dimensions:

  • natural environment
  • built environment
  • public health
  • energy
  • meaning systems

(Temple Sustainability Teaching Circle.  May 2009)

Temple University

Office of Sustainability. Temple University.



[1] World Commission on Environment and Development. "Our Common Future." Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987. 43.

[2] "Cornell Sustainable Campus." 2006.​



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Sarah Jones
Charles Library