So What Does Sustainability Even Mean & How Can I Help?
People are talking about it. I’M talking about it. And you want to know what it all means. Well, I hear you and so I’m going to do my best to break it down a bit for you so that you can talk about it in regards to your own life and business.
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While there are many various definitions of sustainability depending on who’s talking, essentially, sustainability is the meeting of present needs without compromising the needs of future generations. There are three pillars of sustainability that must be considered when considering the needs of today as well as the future, and these pillars are social, economic, and environmental. The reason people consider the environmental impact more important than the other pillars is because the quality of our economies and societies depend on our environmental conditions. This is why, for many people and businesses, the focus is on creating an environmentally sustainable business, community, and overall society.
So, sustainability is maintaining a healthy environment, economy, and society. The goal is to create sustainable businesses and products that achieve overall sustainability for our planet. For a product to be sustainable means that the product provides environmental, economic, and social benefits and minimizes negative impacts on these pillars throughout their whole life cycle – from the creation of the product to the product’s end.
So You Want to Live More Sustainably
By changing our behavior, we can help to achieve a more sustainable future for all life on earth, including future generations. All of our actions matter, whether you’re a stay-at-home parent, small business owner, or government official, you can make a difference. Margaret Mead once reminded us to “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
While it can be difficult for most of us to live a completely eco-friendly life and achieve perfect sustainability, there are many things we can do in our everyday lives that have a significant impact. It’s also important that we continue to educate ourselves on these topics as new information is presented and new issues arise, and work to always do better.
Some activities that have the most harmful impact on the environment that are worth considering highly are agriculture and deforestation, pollutants caused by plastics and other toxins, consumption and waste, transportation, water, and energy use.
I heard once that one of the biggest impacts an individual can make in helping to achieve a more sustainable environment is to reduce meat and dairy intake as much as possible. I personally have the privilege to be able to easily live a vegan, plant-based lifestyle, and I do! This is one change I’ve made since reading about the impact that the meat industry has on the health of our soil and planet. I understand that not every community or person has the same privileges that I do, but if we have the choice, and can make an improvement in our lives to live more sustainably in certain areas, I really believe that it’s our responsibility. Just think, if millions of people imperfectly tried to be sustainable where and when they could, the positive impact it would have on our environment would be great.
Wow. I know that was a lot of information! Hopefully it was helpful in your understanding of what sustainability is, the importance of it, and how you and your business can play a role. Here are a couple of ideas where you might be able to improve your sustainability in your everyday life and business: use and reuse what you have, use sustainable packaging for your business, order from sustainable retailers, read labels, educate yourself, reduce or eliminate your meat and dairy intake, support other sustainable businesses, donate if you can, and live with less.
If you have any questions or are curious about working with me, feel free to comment below or inquire here, or sign up for my newsletter (and receive tips on sustainability in business, branding, marketing, and more!) here.