The Importance of Sustainability
Sustainability and sustainable development are terms that have become synonymous with our everyday living. Everyone is familiar with the terms but very few actually understand their implications and the practices or activities involved. Sustainable development refers to the capability of meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs when the time comes. In other words, sustainable development is about utilizing the resources the current population needs to develop without endangering the ability of future generations to do the same.
Sustainability involves developing a mindset that is geared towards taking care of the environment and ensuring that the environmental resources are not depleted. Individuals, businesses, and governments are being called upon to develop an environmental consciousness to conserve the environment for future generations.
The benefits of engaging in sustainable practices and development are enormous. One of the main advantages of living in an environmentally conscious world is that people produce and consume healthier food. Sustainable practices guarantee that the food production methods are safe limiting the amount of chemicals that the human population is exposed to. Healthier food implies healthier people, which increases the productivity of a nation’s workforce and reduces the government’s expenditure on health care.
Furthermore, sustainable practices are cost effective in many different ways. People and businesses that recycle their used products spend less money because they do not have to incur the cost of purchasing new products. The money saved can be used to improve one’s economic status or re-invested in additional sustainable ventures.
The human population will also benefit greatly from utilizing alternative means of energy such as solar and wind power. In the end, such means of power will cost less meaning that people will be paying less for their energy needs. With more money at their disposal, individuals are better equipped to improve the quality of their lives.
Taking this class has opened my eyes to the world of possibilities that come with living a sustainable existence. Individuals have the opportunity to make a difference by inculcating different sustainable practices into their everyday lives. Most of these activities should be common sense to even people who have not been educated on the same. Unfortunately, most people tend to overlook such activities because they have been programmed by the society to follow unsustainable practices. People are aware about some of their harmful activities and their consequences on the environment. Nonetheless, they continue carrying out such activities because that is the normal way of doing things or they believe that they would be dead before the consequences come around.
An example of people taking the environment for granted and jeopardizing the sustenance of future generations is the extinction of animal species. The extinction of the animals is because of human exploitation. Humans kill the animals for their meat, hides, and their body parts. Humans also dump toxic materials into rivers and the areas in which animals live. Human-animal conflict is also due to humans encroaching on the land where animals live. Such conflicts usually end up in the loss of countless of animal life. The animals die because of consuming these toxic chemicals. Furthermore, human activities have directly contributed to the greenhouse effect that has led to severe environmental changes. The eco-systems are altered and sometimes they are irreversibly damaged. Animals depend on such eco-systems for their survival and they cannot survive under such conditions. They thus end up dying in huge numbers.
Climate change can be considered the greatest human environmental impact. The change in climate has catastrophic effects on animals, plants, and human beings in the current generation and in the generations to come. The industrial activities of corporations are the sole culprit behind climate change and global warming.
Many multinational corporations run their activities in nations where the labor and energy costs are low so that they can increase their profit margins. Another allure of such countries is their lax legislation particularly laws concerning environmental conservation and sustainability. For instance, the nations in South East Asia are fertile grounds for multinational companies to set up shop. The resources such as energy and labor are cheaper than in developed countries. However, the most attractive aspect about setting up businesses in these countries is the near lack of environmental regulation.
The governments in such countries are ruthlessly trying to attract more multinational corporations in order to boost their present economies. They are willing to jeopardize the lives of their current and future citizens for present gratification. They allow the MNCs to carry out their activities without any respect for the environment because they want to attract more foreign investment and retain the ones they have already acquired.
Even developed countries have played a huge role in climate change over the years despite them having the capability to produce goods using less harmful practices. USA and China have the highest carbon dioxide emission rates in the world despite being the two strongest economies on the globe. Russia, Japan, India, and Germany follow suit in the emissions category. Other countries such as Malaysia and Bangladesh are notorious for dumping chemicals in their rivers and oceans destroying the natural eco-systems in these waters. Some of the natural flora and fauna in these waters play a huge part in stabilizing the microclimates of these areas.
Today, the word ‘sustainable’ is used literally everywhere from political campaigns to the CSR activities of corporations. Everyone seems to be aware of the fact that the world needs to develop sustainable practices but very little is actually being done on this front. The governments and corporations of the world need to develop and strictly implement sustainable practices to ensure the continued survival of the human race. Environmental degradation will reduce the quality of human life because there will be a scarcity of food and water. Furthermore, like the animals whose numbers are dwindling every waking minute, human beings too depend on the environment for their survival.
To this effect, it is imperative that legislation that protects the welfare of animals, plants and the environment as a whole be put in place in every jurisdiction. Individuals need to take it upon themselves to understand how the environment works and educate themselves on how to enrich rather than deplete it. We need to put a stop to our materialistic nature so that future generations have a fighting chance at surviving when their time comes.
In my opinion, the key to achieving sustainable development is to ensure that our individual lifestyle choices do not cause any risk to the environment. If every human being on the face of the planet could monitor his activities carefully to ensure that he is not endangering the environment, then rest assured issues such as global warming could be effectively reversed.
Sustainability starts from the individual, once it becomes a part of someone’s culture, then the society he lives in, the organization he works for, and the government he serves will follow suit. If individuals begin to recycle their waste products and conserve their electricity, soon enough even the government would be doing the same or funding ventures that support large scale recycling efforts. Furthermore, it is essential that human beings aggressively educate one another on environmentally suitable practices of production and waste disposal.