Sustainability, Substance Flow Management and Time: Part I: Temporal Analysis of Substance Flows

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Flows of chemical substances need to be managed in a sustainable way. Sustainable development as a whole and the sustainable management of substance flows in particular are both time issues. These include the importance of the dynamics of substance flows and the way these interconnect with the use of resources, the avoidance of environmental pollution, and their effects on health and food production. Another prerequisite for the proper management of substance flows is justice within and between generations. This requires a systematic approach and a systematic analysis of the issues as well as of the actions to be taken. One tool for such a systematic approach is temporal analysis. It brings the temporal aspects of the substances themselves and of their intended use, as well as factors affecting the stakeholders, such as decision makers, producers and consumers, into focus. In the past, timing factors were rarely taken into account. Knowledge of the temporal dynamics of substance flows and their resultant outcomes, as well as of their interaction with ecological, economic and social systems, is a basic requirement for successful substance flow management. The need to include temporal aspects into substance flow management and how to do so is outlined here. Included are not only politicians but also practitioners and scientists who must explicitly take into account adequate time scales, points in time, breaks and other forms of time in planning and acting. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1333-1342
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 09.2008