What is Sustainability?
Sustainability means balancing human demand with what the environment can provide both currently and in the future. The greater the demand, be it for food, water, space, fuel, energy, air, wood, metal, etc., and the greater the rate of demand, the less sustainable our lifestyles are. In order to balance out the supply with the demand, we need to replace, renew, or reinvent how we consume.
How can we possibly accomplish that balance?
It’s up to the individual and us as a society to call on our producers and policy makers to make serious changes in how our society is run and how our goods are produced. As individuals, keeping in mind the bigger picture, the long term goals, and stepping (if only for a brief moment) outside of one’s own excessive needs, every person can make a small change in the way they live, which will help the environment, and hopefully inspire others to do the same.
However, a sustainable community is not that simple. It’s certainly not easy. Politics, economics, business, social and cultural factors come in to play quite heavily when talking about this topic. If we can achieve a balance of ourselves, the environment, the economy, and government (and our government’s relationship with the international community), we can achieve sustainability. On an international level, there would need to be major cooperation between all nations and people to accomplish this common goal…. see, not so easy, right?
“Sustainable development reflects not the trade-off between business and the environment but the synergy between them.” (EPA, 2010)