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The Brundtland Report, Our Common Future (1987), defines sustainable development as "development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs' Implicit in this definition is the idea that the old pattern of development could not be sustained. Is this true? Development in the past was driven by growth and innovation. It led to new technologies and huge improvements in living standards. To assume that we know what the circumstances or needs of future generations will be is mistaken and inevitably leads to the debilitating sense that we are living on borrowed time. Only if we assume that society will remain static can we understand the needs of the future. The way we live today could not have been predicted twenty years ago. The sustainability paradigm fails to recognize this. It is a static view and thus places limits on human ingenuity. Similarly, a whole host of false assumptions dominate environmental thought; the scale of problems is exaggerated, the amount of resources is underestimated and spurious links are made between areas such as green policies and profit, poverty and environmental degradation. Those of us who want a better future need to question these assumptions.