While a lot has been said about sustainability, many people are not even aware of what the term denotes. We can translate “Sustainability” as the ability to retain a process or status in an existing system. The term is commonly used in the context of ecology in connection with human systems. In other words, sustainability can be defined as the ecosystem’s ability to maintain its productivity consistently for several years.
One way to help the ecosystem achieve this is to opt for a sustainable lifestyle. Sustainability is not a Herculean task and can be achieved via small, simple steps like recycling water, reusing items, etc. Companies like Disney and Petsmart have also started operating their businesses in a highly sustainable way, leading the way for other companies and households to follow.
The Need for Sustainability to set the future straight
It is a known fact that our actions have a direct influence on how our future shapes up to be. The same can be said of our choices, which would either have positive or negative impacts on the future generations to come. Our choices should not limit their choices in any way.
Let us take a small example to understand this better. In spite of repeated warnings to save water and stop polluting fresh water bodies, we continue to do so, unmindful of the consequences of our actions in the years to come. Fast forward a few years. Our increased usage of water resources as well as increased pollution levels would leave future generations with limited choices for natural, fresh water resources. They would have to opt for desalinated or chemically purified water for their daily needs. While one would need to worry about the myriad health related risks, there is no denying the fact that continued fresh water wastage would lead to water crisis on earth. This in turn would lead to the extinction of life dependant on water.
Let us take another example. Improper care of natural soil can soon lead to sub standard soil quality, which would not be able to support growth or sustain life. A few years down the lane and this would lead to our future generations having no proper soil to cultivate crops or other natural food sources. This would lead them to create man made food sources for their nourishment and sustenance, an action that could pose detrimental health related risks to the body and mind.
Now consider a future world devoid of these two major resources. Scarce fresh water and soil resources could eventually lead to the extinction of all life on earth, including plants and animals. Eventually, this vicious tree of extinction would extend its branches to welcome one more life source into its fold, us humans.
The older generations had little to worry about, as the civilizations then were smaller and the earth was able to replenish its natural resources faster than people used them up. However, as civilizations started expanding, people started taking these natural resources for granted and started using them without control. The result is what we see now, a number of natural resources already dwindling due to exhaustive usage.
Thankfully, we are slowly coming around and learning how to think twice before using limited environmental resources. Facing the consequences of the actions of the generations before us, we are taking steps to ensure that future generations after us do not experience worse. The only way to get this done is to introduce sustainability into our daily lives. We would need to sustain the supply of natural resources in order to let nature catch up with our developmental plans. This would ultimately lead to the sustainment of all life on earth, including humans.
Sustainability, although much talked about, is not a concept that is clear in the minds of several individuals out there. These pointers would help clarify any questions they would have about sustainability and help them embark on the journey to sustain human development in the years to come.