What is sustainability?
“ Meeting our present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”(Brundtland Commission 1987)
A lot of people don’t understand sustainability, so I thought it would be a good idea to write a post to explain the reasons why everyone needs to be more sustainable in the future. The way in which we live has to change because it cannot be maintained in the long term. We are causing irreparable damage to our ecosystems, our environment, our species/mammals are becoming extinct, we will eventually run out of fossil fuels and our water and air is dirty.
When considering sustainability we should look at the 3 main components, which are Environmental Conservation, Social Responsibility and Economic Development. People often think it’s mainly about the environmental conservation but it’s primarily about people and the health of our communities. We need to be more sustainable to help reserve our natural resources for future generations to come and we can do this by being more socially responsible for our own actions and behaviours.
The diagram above shows some important aspects of sustainability, that we should consider to improve our overall quality of life. We can all make changes to most parts of our life, in work, home, school and in our communities everything needs to change. S Ricee (2020) states that “ Sustainability is becoming more important for all companies, across all industries. 62% of executives consider a sustainability strategy necessary to be competitive today, and another 22% think it will be in the future.”
Reasons to be sustainable!
- Reduce our environmental footprint by conserving energy and water, use less water and turn the heating down
- Reduce waste by recycling more and purchasing greener products – Reduce, Re-use, Recycle
- The resources need to be rationed to protect ourselves, the animals and our environment or they wont last
- Use more sustainable materials instead of toxic materials to reduce hazardous waste, which will benefit our health and the products are safer for us, it will also improve our air and water quality
- Save our forestation and grass lands for now and future generations
- Drive less to improve road safety, saves money, reduces air pollution, decreases damage to the roads and improves our overall health by the air we breathe in
- Businesses should consider the impact that manufacturing and logistics have on the environment and find alternatives approaches such as repairs, repackaging, reusing materials, chemical management and noise pollution etc
- Consider the food chain, by using less food, there will be less waste, compost where possible it will help your garden
- Reduce energy by using energy efficient bulbs, solar and wind energy where possible, these save money by reducing bills and make us more efficient
- As a brand it is important to show that we are sustainable by our standards, policies and missions. Also, to be aware of the impact consumerism has on the environment, by recycling clothes and using second hand shops can help and save you money in the long term
- Don’t use plastic because it kills mammals and species and it’s not biodegradable, use ceramic, metal or glass instead
- Use more reusable products, such as food containers to reduce waste and don’t use paper towels or plastic bags if possible
- Go paperless, send emails, use electric vehicles, plastic cutlery, walk or run and carpool with friends/colleagues
- Shop local farmers, butchers and corner shops they will appreciate the business and its more sustainable
- Recycle at home, work, school and the community and use bins provided for waste
- Businesses should be preparing for long term sustainable plans, as this will be the future and theres no escaping it
- Sustainability is more ethical and helps us make better choices, so we all benefit from it
- Turn off all electrical systems when not in use, it will save money and energy
“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”
(Robert Swan, 2022)
‘Sustainable living’ or ‘green living’ is constantly developing and changing and we should all keep up with learning new ways to help save the planet, start children off young so they can get used to it. It’s up to all of us to find new ways of being more sustainable, for our children and grandchildren and their children and so on. The biggest thing we can do to help is to buy less, only buy what we need. Also, Governments worldwide have created the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as a way of trying to reduce the impact we all have on climate change, all Nations agreed to help make massive changes to the planet and how we live and have regular targets they have to reach by certain deadlines as they realise how bad things are.
As I always say, taking small steps can add up to big changes in the long term. Start by doing little bits like recycling and giving clothes to charity or friends and shop local as this will help over time. Think of the money you could save over a year, by taking a couple of these steps.
Thanks for reading,
Robert Swan, (2022)12 Recycling and Sustainability Quotes to Inspire Kindness to our Earth
Available at: https://harmony1.com/recycling-sustainability-quotes/
Brundtland Commission, (1987) Sustainable Development
Available at: https://www.iisd.org/about-issd/sustainable-development