We hear the term “sustainability” a lot, but we don’t always understand what it means. It includes how natural systems work, how they continue to be diverse, and how they produce everything needed for the environment to remain in balance now and in the future.
Economic development, social development, and environmental protection are the three main pillars of sustainability. Economic development means giving people what they want without compromising their quality of life and lowering the financial burden of doing what is right.
Social development entails being mindful of and legally protecting human health from pollution and harmful activities of businesses, as well as maintaining access to essential natural resources without sacrificing the quality of life.
Even if you are not studying environmental science, you should be interested in sustainability. Sustainability is important even for businesses to understand because it helps with customer attraction and fulfilling Corporate Social Responsibility. Students studying agriculture, nutrition, and public health must concentrate on sustainability in order to learn how to feed a growing population nutritious and high-quality food.
Long-term benefits to our society include improved water and air quality, reduced landfills, and increased renewable energy sources. Sustainable actions contribute to making a real difference in society. Being committed to sustainability will reduce your carbon footprint as well as the number of toxins released into the environment, thereby making it safer. When we focus on sustainability, the entire world benefits, and lives in cleaner, healthier environments.
People will only be interested in sustainability if they are educated about it and its overall importance is communicated effectively. Furthermore, human well-being and societal well-being are integral components of what sustainability represents. It is critical to ensure that people have access to basic resources, that their health is protected, and that they have a good quality of life in a sustainable environment.
Economic development is perhaps one of the more contentious aspects of sustainability, due in part to the fact that economic success is a rather subjective concept, but it is nonetheless important for several reasons. Sustainability cannot succeed without economic development—in order to persuade individuals, communities, and organizations to invest in sustainability, incentives other than long-term benefits must be provided.
Additionally, as previously stated, social development is an important aspect of sustainability—and social development necessitates (among other things) economic resources.
Individually, it can feel overwhelming, isolating, or simply impossible to effect meaningful change. That is not the case when the world’s most innovative, successful, and powerful companies work together to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. While governments struggle to address public goods issues, purpose-driven businesses that collaborate to address these issues have seen great success.
Palm oil, for example, is inexpensive, versatile, and found in roughly half of all packaged products, including soap, lipstick, and ice cream. However, palm oil production (pdf) has resulted in unprecedented levels of greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change.
Hope for A Better Future
We all have a moral obligation to each other, future generations, and other species to sustain the planet, regardless of who we are, where we live, or what we do. Our current decisions and actions have far-reaching long-term consequences for future generations. Sustainability ensures that we make ethical decisions that provide a safe and livable future for all.
If we deplete the Earth’s resources, future generations will suffer. For example, if we overfish our oceans, we risk depleting not only the supply of fish but also the supply of every organism in the food chain that is related to that fish.
Sustainability is important for one simple reason: we cannot maintain our human quality of life, the diversity of life on Earth, or the Earth’s ecosystems unless we embrace it. There are indications from all directions and from the smallest to the largest scale that we must address sustainability.
Sustainability improves our quality of life, protects our ecosystem, and safeguards natural resources for future generations. In the business world, sustainability is associated with a company’s holistic approach, which considers everything from manufacturing to logistics to customer service. Going green and sustainable is not only good for the company; it also maximizes the long-term benefits of an environmental focus.