Is it just us, or does it seem that everywhere you look, sustainability is in the news? It seems to be one megatrend that we hear and see all around, and not just in “green” circles. But why is it so important?
What is sustainability?
The definition created by the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development says, “Sustainability is the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Why is sustainability important?
Sustainability is more that just a buzzword; it’s an important issue. In fact, the reason we keep hearing about it is because it’s become a problem. According to the Global Footprint Network:
“Today humanity uses the equivalent of 1.7 earths to provide the resources we use and absorb our waste. This means it now takes the earth one year and six months to regenerate what we use in a year.”
Why does sustainability matter?
Plain and simple, when we become more sustainable, we ensure a longer life for our planet and its resources. Here are a few sustainable initiatives that we need to make a priority:
Finite vs. Renewable Resources
Humans are overly dependent on earth’s finite resources for our day-to-day activities. First, fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas are limited in their supply, and second, we create additional strain on our planet’s resources when we extract and burn them for fuel. On the other hand, renewable resources, such as geothermal, biogas, wind, solar, etc., can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Too Much Waste
Each year, the earth’s people generate 1.3 billion tons of waste, and that number is expected to soar to 4 billion per year by 2100, according to Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez, senior director for the World Bank’s Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice. We’d say this qualifies as a trash crisis. Guess which country is the leading trash generator? You guessed it: the United States.
What’s the solution? We think it’s more than just doing a better job of recycling. We think this crisis calls for a change in behavior, starting at the most basic level – our daily habits. If you need a few suggestions, check out five simple ways in How To Create A More Sustainable Lifestyle.
According to NASA, “The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades to millennia.” That’s right, NASA’s climate research shows that our activity has lead to:
- Global temperature rise
- Warming oceans
- Shrinking ice sheets
- Glacial retreat
- Decreased snow cover
- Sea level rise
- Declining Arctic sea ice
- Extreme events
- Ocean acidification
“In a world of more than seven billion people, each of us is a drop in the bucket. But with enough drops, we can fill any bucket.” David Suzuki
It’s easy to feel like just a drop in the bucket, and people are often left wondering, “What can I do about climate change?” For those who would like to learn more, here are 10 Things You Can Do About Climate Change.
What it boils down to is: sustainable living means providing our children and grandchildren with a world they can enjoy. It ensures that we are not only meeting our own needs and guarding our future, but protecting future generations and enabling them to meet their needs as well.
Interested in making more sustainable choices about products you buy and where you shop? Visit GonetoGreenMarket.com to find natural products for the whole family.