We hear about sustainability everywhere. So apparently it’s important. But: What is sustainability? And also: Why is it important to talk about sustainability?
Sustainability is explained in different ways, which are all relevant and true.
- Sustainability is usually used in terms of renewable resources. As in: we should protect our natural resources by not exhausting them.
- In line with this reasoning, sustainability is explained as reducing CO2 emissions to protect nature.
- Another definition of sustainability is found in taking care of nature and our ecosystem.
- The last application of sustainability is in terms of something that lasts and to have a positive impact on your surroundings. For example: a sustainable economy, sustainable production chain.
Sustainability is a way to protect our natural environment, ecosystem and human health. But we also try our best to not put our way of living at risk. And additionally, sustainability drives innovation. New solutions should be found so humanity will be able to continue living on this planet.
The definition of sustainability
What is sustainability? Literally, sustainability is the study of how natural systems function. How these natural systems maintain their unique properties and do everything to keep the ecology in balance. Sustainability also recognizes the latest new techniques used to support the modern way of life.
Unfortunately, there are countless examples throughout history where a civilization has damaged its own environment and chances of survival. Therefor, sustainability also takes into account the way in which we live in harmony with nature. And how we protect it from damage and destruction.
But sustainability is not only about the environment. It is also about human health that should not suffer from environmental laws and long-term studies.
The main pillars of sustainability
The World Summit on Social Development has formulated three core areas in the pursuit of sustainable development. These pillars form the backbone of political decisions made in the present, while considering the future.
The first pillar is also the most problematic. There appears to be quite some dissatisfaction with sustainable economic development. Many people do not support the political ideology of what is and is not economically justified. Sustainable economic development about providing incentives to companies and organizations to adhere to sustainability guidelines that go beyond their normal requirements.
The average person also needs incentives to be encouraged to become more sustainable. Individually, the differences are very small. But as a group, the effects are noticeable.
When we talk about the economic development pillar, it is about reducing financial burdens and bureaucracy. In addition, it is always important that people get what they want, without compromising the quality of life.
Sustainable social development
The most important part of this pillar is awareness and compliance with legislation to protect human health, by combating pollution caused by harmful activities of companies or organizations. To this end, very strict controls and legislative programs have been developed worldwide. These programs were created to protect human health to the maximum.
Sustainable housing is also an important theme in today’s society. Increasingly, research is being conducted into how houses can be better built using sustainable materials.
And as a final part of this pillar, education should certainly not be ignored. In order to achieve the set goals, it is important to propagate the effects of environmental protection. Just like warning for threats and consequences when set goals cannot be achieved.
Sustainable environmental protection
Protecting the environment has been an important theme for many years. A lot of attention is paid to recycling, both by companies and at an individual level. Reducing energy consumption and reducing CO2 emissions are also topics that are often discussed within this theme. Companies are monitored so that carbon emissions are kept as low as possible.
For many people, environmental protection is the pillar that determines the future of mankind and earth. It is about improving air quality, sustainability of resources and the ecosystem. All these aspects are studied and respected in order to optimally protect the environment.
You can also do things at home. What do you think you can contribute to environmental protection?
New technologies and biotechnology are crucial for sustainability in the future. It must always be prevented that technological progress damages the environment.
Sustainability goals worldwide
These are the main goals of sustainability worldwide:
- To end poverty and hunger in the world.
- Achieve sustainable economic growth by promoting strong economies and job growth.
- Better standards for education and health care. Especially improving water quality and guaranteeing better sanitation.
- Achieving gender equality.
- Sustainability related to land, air and sea health
Mankind has had a great influence of the world for many years. We ourselves have the choice to put human interests first in solving sustainability problems. We have the assets to use sustainability to promote consumption reduction. This way we can save our climate together, so that we can pass a healthy quality of land, air and sea to future generations.
Towards a sustainable future
It is difficult to say what the ideal sustainable future will look like. The general vision is mainly focused on the latest technologies. The world has experienced unprecedented growth since the 1950s. Technical revolutions, enormous increases in energy needs and intensive agriculture have characterized the latest decades. And as a result, resources on our planet have come under enormous pressure.
In addition, the dire situation in developing countries has also become more widespread. Natural and man-made disasters are nowadays studied in more detail. The effects on the ecosystem and on the population are elaborated. Everything in the interest of developing new and cleaner technologies. Technologies that meet our increased energy needs.
Major movements that are committed to the social preservation and improvement of sustainability are Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance. They are the driving force behind an incentive policy that ensures that farmers who produce luxury goods such as coffee and cocoa receive a fair salary. Activists hope for a sustainability that removes trade barriers. So that it makes a positive contribution to everyone. Not only on the economic side, but also on the social side of all developments.
Let sustainability promote fairness, so that the environment is preserved in all its splendor.
You asked What is sustainability? Well, the answer is that sustainability is an wide term, with different definitions, meanings, interpretations and applications.
What is sustainability in your eyes?