A-Z Popular Blog Top Search »
Related Comparisons

Green vs Sustainable

 , updated on
Green is is often applied to practices that seek to protect the environment. Sustainable is a similar term that seeks to both protect the environment and improve quality of life for people.
In practice, the two terms are often used interchangeably but they represent slightly different approaches to the same set of problems.

Limits vs Win-Win

Both green and sustainable practices represent an incredibly diverse set of ideas and techniques. Generally speaking, the difference between them comes down to their approach to people.
The activities of people are the cause of environmental problems. In other words, if people didn't exist there wouldn't be an environmental crisis. In some cases, green approaches recommend limits to population, economic growth and consumption.
Sustainability is far more focused on quality of life as measured by people's self-reported happiness. People have a tendency to want to grow and be prosperous. As such, sustainability typically embraces economic growth. Sustainability looks for win-win scenarios that allow communities to grow while driving their impact on the environment towards zero.
The difference between the two approaches comes down to limits. The Earth's resources are surely limited. In some cases, green advocates scaling back economic activity. Sustainability tends to be on the side of expanding activities in a way that has far less impact.
Technological progress created environmental problems and could potentially solve them. The rapid advancement of technologies such as solar panels is a prominent example.
If technology were used to reduce human impact as opposed to rapidly expanding it, communities could have economic growth while saving the world. At least that's the idea.
Green vs Sustainable
Practices that address environmental issues often with the goal of reducing environmental impacts to zero.
Practices that improve quality of life and address environmental issues.


This is the complete list of articles we have written about sustainability.
Adaptive Reuse
Broken Window Fallacy
Carbon Concrete
Cascading Failure
Circular Economy
Clean Air Zone
Clean Label
Climate Engineering
CO2 Per Capita
Coal Power
Comparative Risk
Creeping Normality
Cultural Lag
Cycle Highway
Deep Water Cooling
Disaster Preparedness
District Heating
Do No Harm
Do Nothing Farming
Dollar Voting
Economic Bad
Electric Boat
Embodied Energy
Environmental Issues
Environmental Justice
Environmental Problems
Existential Risk
Farm Robots
Fertilizer Tree
Fire Ecology
Food Sovereignty
Forest Dieback
Fruit Bagging
Global Change
Global Issues
Global Warming
Green Facade
Green Facades
Green Industry
Green Roof
Green Walls
Happiness Economics
Happiness Index
High-Speed Rail
Holocene Extinction
Human Scale
Jevons Paradox
Keyhole Garden
Keystone Species
Land Footprint
Light Pollution
Living Street
Market Failure
Material Diversity
Missing Market
Moral Hazard
Natural Capital
Natural Resources
Nearly Car Free
Noise Pollution
Ocean Plastic Cleanup
Outside Context Problem
Particulate Matter
Passive Design
Point Of No Return
Precautionary Principle
Product Transparency
Quality Of Life
Race To The Bottom
Rainwater Harvesting
Repair Cafe
Resilient Cities
Right To Know
Safety By Design
Slow Design
Slow Movement
Smart Glass
Social Responsibility
Soft Engineering
Soil Carbon
Space Junk
Sunlight Transport
Sustainable Design
Sustainable Economics
Sustainable Lighting
Sustainable Materials
Tactical Urbanism
Uneconomic Growth
Urban Density
Urban Design
Urban Heat Island
Urban Reforestation
Waste Is Food
Water Security
If you enjoyed this page, please consider bookmarking Simplicable.

Existential Risk

An overview of existential risk.

Precautionary Principle

An overview of the precautionary principle.

Comparative Risk

A definition of comparative risk with examples.

Energy Efficiency

The common types of energy efficiency.

External Stakeholders

The definition of external stakeholder with examples.

Economic Bad

Common examples of an economic bad.


The definition of win-lose with examples.

Climate Engineering

An overview of climate engineering.

Soil Carbon

Why carbon soil is important.

Urban Design

A few common urban design terms.

Green Walls vs Green Facades

The difference between a green wall and green facade.

Sustainable Urban Design

A list of sustainable urban design techniques.

Passive Design vs Active Design

The difference between active and passive design.

Street Canyon

How a street canyon changes an urban environment.

Parti Pris

An overview of parti pris in architecture with an example.

City Issues

A list of common city issues.

Community Problems

A list of common community problems.

Things In Cities

An a-z list of things in cities.

City Types

An list of the common types of city.
The most popular articles on Simplicable in the past day.

New Articles

Recent posts or updates on Simplicable.
Site Map