The Brundtland Commission stated that sustainable development is “development that meets the needs of the present generation without endangering future generations to meet their needs”.
Max-Neef adds that the best form of development is “one that improves people’s quality of life.”
He clarifies that development is about people and not about things. You cannot use the growth in GNP, because that says something about things and numbers. Development is about the quality of your life and that is reached when you are able to meet all your needs.
What you need to achieve a more sustainable development is the understanding that needs and the ‘stuff’ that satisfies those needs (satisfiers) are not one and the same. And that not all satisfiers contribute equally to quality of life. And finally, in most cases, really satisfying things are often not even things. It would mean that the quality of life for all is always higher in countries with the largest Gross National Product and the most ‘stuff’ going through the economic system. And many of us know from experience that this is not the case.
For inspiration, watch this beautiful video, with a different vision of the economy, based on a different image of humanity than the Homo Economicus.