You would be living under the rock if you haven’t heard of the term sustainability. Not necessary to know it all but not an alien term. Sustain means to keep it going and SUSTAINABILITY is a concept to keep it going. Basically, careful and judicious use of natural resources to meet the current needs without disturbing the ability of the future generation from meeting their needs.
Sustainability is seen in terms of three aspects, environmental, social, and human impact for the long-term survival, rather than on short-term gains.
Sustainability can be attained by basic awareness, smart and conscious living, cutting down the use fossil fuels, lowering the energy usage, sourcing products from fair-trade organizations, and ensuring proper waste management with the least amount of carbon footprints as possible.
WHAT IS SUSTAINABILITY AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
We reside in a very liberal, modernized and urban settlement and with growing needs and new technology, social media influence we can do and get involved in numerous things and end up consuming lots of natural resources every passing day. Be it increased travel, fashion, intercultural involvement and want to do something better than other and be a part of rat race.
We as a part of urban settlement, consume much more than rural settings in terms of energy consumption, power requirements, public sector consumption etc. It is estimated that we are using 40% more resources everyday than we are putting it back. And this is the problem.
Its important to address this because sustainability emphasizes on the awareness and programming the people to concentrate on their needs only, and not run for unwanted greed. It focuses on progressing well in technologies and the economy with coexistence with environmental protection.
It also looks after the overall health of the people around the world and makes sure that nobody suffers because of unethical working conditions or any other anticipated ill- effects that can be seen after human activities. Sustainability is important for all of this and much more.
Related : COMPLETE GUIDE ON SUSTAINABLE EATING
It addresses and focuses on better quality of life to meet our standard needs without overusing it for the betterment of the natural cycles and biodiversity. It thinks for future generations. It rises above personal interest but looks at things in a big wider picture.
THE 3 PILLARS OF SUSTAINABILITY OR
The 3 principles of sustainability OR
The 3 dimensions of sustainability
The principle of The Three Pillars of Sustainability says that “to achieve the complete sustainability of space all three pillars of sustainability, the social responsibility, environmental protection, and economic development, must be sustainable
All these three aspects are dependent on each other and can’t exist without each other. It’s an interdependent circle that needs to coordinate.
Of the three pillars, the most important is environmental sustainability aspect which dominates the other 2 pillars in a way that if this is not addressed properly no matter if we work very hard on social or economic development, we will not be sustainable.
It means providing people with a better quality of life, not overburdening them with finances. Economic development work on providing good job opportunities that will accelerate the economy without harming the surroundings.
Comfortable working conditions for working-class, better finances investment plans, better provisions to invest and save funds, the fulfillment of good trading policies, easy banking, and better agricultural sector to flourish better and create job opportunities to bringing the whole society together.
This is more about human rights moral values and ethics and mannerisms. It investigates the sector of wellness of people who are taken care of and are not deprived of the necessities of life.
Not compromising on the quality of life, better education, awareness programs, teaching societies to know their human rights, overburdened, ensuring good working conditions, etc. it talks about equality society development, labor rights, human adaptation, responsibilities, and all types of living and health equity.
Environment and its protection are not anything that one is not aware of. There have been countless talks and campaigns that talk about recycling reusing and reducing commodities. Therefore, this aspect is so important compared to others because if this is not done properly, the other two aspect holds no weight.
Talking about environmental protection numerous aspects are being worked on like lowering the carbon emissions, less or zero waste lifestyle, reduction of plastics, and reducing the use of fossil fuels which add up to lots of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere leading to change and serious effects of global warming.
This is important because it talks about sustainability, protecting the ecosystem, saving marine life, wildlife, flora, and fauna. It talks about how to make that big change with small actions and encourages future green and biotechnologies to be addressed to larger communities of people around the world.
THE 4TH PILLAR…OR OTHER ASPECTS
Many people see sustainability with one more aspect that is :
Other than the three pillars another aspect the researcher investigates is cultural protection for attaining the goal of well being with a sustainable approach. Talking about maintaining the traditions of cultural heritage and the conservation of arts and crafts of the existing culture and beliefs.
This is thought in view to protect the long-driven heritage and morals methods and collection of human knowledge over so many years should be protected for future generations to come. This is important to transfer the knowledge to next-generation o sustain the traditions and values of one’s culture and encourage them to practice the same.
CIRCLE OF SUSTAINABILITY
The ‘circle of sustainability’ is a way of accessing and understanding sustainability collectively with 4 aspects of pattern – environment, social, cultural, and economic.
FACTS ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY
There are numerous facts that your mind will be blown away by just reading them…here are some of them.
1. Half the world’s tropical and temperate forests are now gone.
2. In the past 50 years, humans have consumed more resources than in all previous history.
To read more facts: https://ecocycle.org/ecofacts
WHY DO WE NEED SUSTAINABILITY?
Sustainability is important for many reasons including: The quality of environment, health of humans, cleanliness of natural treasures and to coexist.
We need sustainability for a comforting lifestyle that we deserve as human beings as a part of this beautiful natural world, to enjoy the diversity of this beautiful blue planet without disrupting the ongoing process of natural cycles and ecosystem.
It is important to embrace the existence of each other like the green forests, the wildlife, aquatic life, flora and fauna, and oceans, mountains and atmosphere.
If not, we will run out of fossils, we will no have billion and millions of the species of animals and birds.it is important to address sustainability because it can be strive at individual level, community levels, ecosystem levels and around the world.
PRIMARY SUSTAINABILITY GOALS
1. Sustainable economic growth while promoting jobs and stronger economies
2. Protection of natural environment from damage and destruction.
3. Human and ecological health
4. Green growth
5. Natural resource management
6. Sustainable development
7. To end animal suffering
8. Living in harmony with the natural world
9. Reducing carbon footprints, packaging waste
10. To end of poverty and hunger
11. Improves standards of education and healthcare
12. Water quality and better sanitation
13. To achieve gender equality
14. Tackling the effects of climate change, pollution and other environmental factors that can harm and do harm people’s health, livelihoods and lives
15. Basically, taking care of the health of the land, air and sea
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SUSTAINABILITY?
1. Economic growth
2. Protecting environment
3. Prosperity happiness and health
4. Quality of life
5. Existence of future human generations
HOW DO YOU MEASURE SUSTAINABILITY?
Human impact can be calculated using IPAT formula. This has three components : population level of consumption (Affluence) and impact per unit of resource (technology) used.
The equation is expressed:
I = P × A × T
Where: I = Environmental impact, P = Population, A = Affluence, T = Technology
For more details on this, read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_%3D_PAT
WHAT ARE IMPORTANT SUSTAINABILITY FACTORS?
Careful resource management in agriculture, manufacturing, industries, work organizations
The consumption patterns of households and individuals
Resource demands of individual goods and services
HOW ARE HUMANS IMPACTING ENVIRONMENT FOR THEIR PERSONAL BENEFITS?
Human impact on Earth systems is a big huddle in attaining ultimate sustainability. Here are the few things that we as a human being are adding to the disruption of the movement.
1. population growth
2. air pollution that leads to Ozone depletion, global warming, ocean acidification
3. light pollution that is affecting flora and fauna health
4. water pollution through bad waste management
5. water crisis of over-extraction of groundwater and wasting water due to over irrigation
6. using lots of non-biodegradable materials in their day to day life
7. polluting water streams because of residue of mining and drilling, burning of fossil fuels
8. habitat destruction and poaching wildlife
9. marine life in oceans by over-fishing
10. preferring sons over girls resulting in an imbalanced sex ratio
11. uncleanliness in public spaces such as parks, recreation areas, and public restrooms.
12. hoarding of items which results in a few people having excess and many people not having enough.
13. space debris in Earth’s surrounding space obstructing many satellites
14. deforestation of old growth forest
15. overusing energy and power
16. depleting natural resources.
Quick know how: Many natural resources can be categorized as renewable or non-renewable:
1. Renewable resources — Renewable resources can be restored naturally like sunlight, air, wind, water, heat , biomass etc. that are continuously available and their quantities are not affected by human consumption but we should not be overusing it and the rate of replenish should always be far greater that rate of consumptions. Solar energy, wind energy, wave and tidal energy, biogas, geothermal energy are examples of renewable energy.
2. Non-renewable resources – Non-renewable resources either form slowly or do not naturally form in the environment. Minerals, fossil fuels like coal natural oil natural gas. Their rate of formation is extremely slow (potentially millions of years). Once they are completely used, they take millions of years to make. burning of fossil fuels, petroleum reserves, nuclear energy etc. are example of nonrenewable energy resources
Some estimate that, assuming current consumption rates, current oil reserves could be completely depleted by 2050.
HOW TO ACHIEVE ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
For renewable resources – The rate of harvest should not exceed the rate of regeneration.
For pollution – The rate of waste generation should not exceed the capacity of the environment waste disposal.
For non-renewable resources – The depletion of the nonrenewable resources should require development of renewable substitutes for that resource.
THREATS TO SUSTAINABILITY
1.severe damage to atmosphere
2. oceans pollution,
3. disrupting ecosystems
4. depletion of natural resource
5. soil productivity
7. ozone depletion
8. climate change
9. global warming
10. destruction of biophysical resources
1. Environmental degradation
2. Lacking awareness
4. Resource curse.
5. Resource depletion
6. Depleting or spoiling the shared resource through their collective action for a temporary common good
7. To mythic-ally believe that earth has more than sufficient natural resources to satisfy humanity’s needs.
HOW CAN WE ACHIEVE SUSTAINABILITY?
1. Better use of resources
2. Stabilization of human population
3. Elimination of poverty
4. Reduce the use of fossil fuels
5. Stopping over consumption
6. Move from fossil fuels
7. Eat less meat Read more: Complete guide on sustainable eating
8. Recycling resources
9. Careful resource management
10. Waste management
11. Adapting circular economy
ON PERSONAL LEVEL
1. Buying of ethically made products protecting animals and the environment
2. supporting small scale manufacturers, local artisans.
3. boycotting products that exploit children as workers, are tested on animals, or damage the environment
4. Reduce, reuse, repeat and recycle
5. Make wise purchasing decisions
6. Grow your own food : Read How to preserve food at home
7. Conserve water
8. Use less heat
9. Make your own composting for waste management
10. Save energy
11. Sustainable use of fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides
12. Adopt a minimal lifestyle to reduce waste and landfill trash
WHAT SUSTAINABLE FUTURE LOOKS LIKE IN FUTURE?
It is not very clear what our future will look like in few years down the line, but we are hopeful to be able to implement these things in our attitude and lifestyle. Here are few anticipations:
1. Industries adopting a ‘circular economy’ completely
2. Textiles industries following the practice of clothes continually being recycled as much as possible rather than ending up as waste in landfills.
3. End of the fast fashion culture of exploitation, low wages, unsafe conditions, and factory disasters WATCH: https://youtu.be/SlwYq7t0ctw
4. End of the ‘take-make-dispose’ model to end numerous negative environmental and societal impacts
5. Construction industry using sustainable materials
6. Automotive industry adopting e-cars, remanufacturing parts and re-assembling parts
7. Overall reduction of costs when reusing, recycling and
8. reducing raw materials imports.
9. Closing the fodder-manure cycle
10. Reusing as much waste streams as possible
11. Veganism to transform the global food industry
12. Implementing uniform methods to measure the soil quality
13. Providing initiatives to increase the earnings of farmers
14. Energy generation from sustainable sources such as wind, hydro power, and solar.
15. Remade and refurbished options to customer
16. Zero waste lifestyle makeover of people
17. Using the 5 R’s in Waste management – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Re-purpose, Recycle
18. Nature conservation and restoration
19. Following Cradle-to-cradle designing ending the cradle-to-grave cycle of manufactured products.
20, Carbon offsetting
21. Reduction of E-waste
22. Investing in Green Technology
23. Development of alternative energy fuels.
24. Encouraging Green Nanotechnology
25. Researches in green Chemistry
26. Reduction in pollution and waste by changing production and consumption patterns.
28. Reducing the use of artificial fertilizers in favor of natural manure
Sustainability is not something that is not achievable. Of course not. Basically, it is something needs to be taken care for the betterment of humans to go on and on for future generations to come. Who doesn’t like a green field or a blue sky or crystal-clear sea in which fishes are playing? Who doesn’t like cleanliness, kindness, better opportunities, good quality of life, moreover living with humanity?
It’s an irony of life that we need to be made aware of this fact that we need all the beautiful things in our lives. Isn’t it funny to convince somebody to adopt to certain things, which are only supposed to make his or her life better? Next thing is, if one is convinced what next, he or she should be doing?
First of all, convinced is a wrong word here. If one “understands” that this is the need of the hour. How should he start, what should he do…? The answer to this question is start from a very basic level. From yourself to your home to your community, state and then overall country and eventually as a human race altogether.
Start from yourself to minimize your lifestyle, reduce – reuse – repeat – recycle, try to eat plant-based food, avoid too much meat if you aren’t willing to leave it altogether, incline yourself in some plantations cleanup campaigns. Minimize your waste and compost at your home itself. There are so many things one can adopt as an individual one can do to reach this goal.
Just trash out all the plastics, DIY your own cleaning products, use only ethical and eco-friendly brands and cut out yourself from the rat race of fast fashion. Sustainability is such a warm thought that only talks about being sensitive, positive, conscious, aware and giving. It is a belief to encourage people to work together for one big goal of protecting mother earth.
We are being, a very small part of nature should not hamper or disrupt the natural life cycles of the ecosystem, we should act responsibly to not touch what is not under our control. We are just a very tiny part of the earth and not above earth. Make sure that you take up few things in life that can add up to the goal of sustainability. It’s not that difficult. Isn’t it?
If you are willing to make small changes in your life and locality that can bring prosperity, health and most importantly a vision of seeing this mother earth flourish and sustain for millions and billions of years ahead of us, please do your bit.
Comment if you are already following a green and conscious lifestyle?