However it is defined, sustainability can be thought of as a normative rather than a descriptive concept, although the goal is to move eventually from “ought” to “is”

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behaviors. A sustainable future requires citizens and decision-makers to establish a new way of thinking about, and acting on, natural-resource preservation. The difficulty arises because reasonable minds can, and do, differ on what “sustainable” thinking and acting entail. Thus, if we cannot corner our elusive prey for a first-hand dissection, let us examine its trail in this chapter. Along the way, we can pause to visit with forbears who have walked the path and staked out a claim-if not to the truth of sustainability, perhaps to partial insight on what the concept involves. Even if we cannot bring down the evasive beast at the conclusion of the hunt, we may glimpse its essential features. Because of this glimpse, we can generalize on common characteristics so anyone can recognize sustainability if they catch sight of it in the wild.