Human well-being is inextricably linked to environmental health. People need clean air to
breathe, fresh water to drink, and safe living environments free of toxic substances and hazards.
As we begin to see the long-term consequences of exponential industrial growth and energy
consumption, we must act to reverse these effects and prevent further damage, ensuring that
future generations have safe places to live. For businesses, it means committing to environmentally sustainable practices to contribute to the development of thriving communities
and secure future growth potential.
What is sustainability?
Sustainability is the ability to exist and develop without depleting natural resources for the
future. The United Nations defined sustainable development in the Brundtland Report as
development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future
generations to meet their own needs. It assumes that resources are finite and should be used
conservatively and carefully to ensure enough for future generations without decreasing the
present quality of life. A sustainable society must be socially responsible, focusing on
environmental protection and dynamic equilibrium in human and natural systems. Sustainability
is not just environmentalism. The principles of sustainability are the foundations of what this
concept represents. Therefore, sustainability is made up of three pillars: the economy, society,
and the environment. These principles are also informally used for profit, people and the planet.
What is environmental sustainability?
Environmental sustainability is responsibly interacting with the planet to maintain natural
resources and avoid jeopardizing the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
According to the United Nations (UN) World Commission on Environment and Development,
environmental sustainability is about acting to ensure future generations have the natural
resources available to live an equal, if not better, way of life as current generations whilst
maintaining ecological integrity.
How to be a sustainable consumer?
1. Look for reusable, sustainable alternatives:
Home is where sustainability begins! Examine your surroundings and make sustainable
substitutions for the products you use. Recycle your plastic containers and use glass containers
to store your food. Purchase a glass water bottle, such as a bkr bottle. If you use plastic, make
sure that it is BPA-free. Consider using a refillable spray mop. Instead of paper towels, use
reusable cleaning cloths and this reusable food wrap instead of Ziploc bags. Finding
eco-friendly alternatives reduces your exposure to the toxins in plastic, reduces waste, and
saves money in the long run.
2. Purchase organic fruits and vegetables through finding Green Lodging:
One way to reduce carbon footprint is through shopping locally and organically. Buying organic
may be more expensive, but it is well worth it. Non-organic produce is frequently laden with
chemicals and pesticides, is imported from worldwide, and is often out of season. If you can't
afford organic, seasonal produce is always the best option, and shopping at your local farmers'
market ensures you're getting high-quality food grown locally. Further, when shopping for
groceries, stick to the outer aisles. This will assist you in avoiding all processed and high-waste
products with a lot of packaging in the middle.
3. Buy already loved clothing and household items:
One of the most significant changes can be to buy used clothing and household items. Clothing,
dishes, pans, frames, kitchen items, candles, and even furniture can be found at thrift stores,
flea markets, and local Goodwill stores. If you prefer online shopping, look for items you need
on Craigslist, eBay, Etsy, or even a local Facebook community yard sale group before going to
Amazon. By purchasing previously loved items, you can reduce waste and save money, thus
making a positive difference to society and the environment through more conscious choices.
4. Eat less meat: for a healthy lifestyle and a healthy planet:
With a rising global middle class, societies are becoming meat obsessed. The evidence is clear:
a high-meat diet raises the risk of obesity, cancer, and heart disease. However, it is also harmful
to the environment. The livestock industry, which includes raising cows, pigs, and chickens,
emits the same greenhouse gas as all cars, trucks, and automobiles combined. Cattle ranchers
have decimated natural "carbon sinks" by clearcutting millions of square kilometres of forest for
grazing pastures. We're not suggesting that everyone switch to a "meatless" diet. However, we
must all develop "meat consciousness" and reduce the amount of meat in our diets. Moving to
more plant-based foods is critical for combating climate change, pollution, ocean dead zones,
and a myriad of other issues caused by industrial livestock production. We can significantly
impact our collective health and the planet's health if we decide to eat fewer meals with meat or
dairy each week.
As a result of the climate crisis, there is a current trend toward sustainability as a more
appealing priority for businesses as people begin to live more sustainable lives. It is likely that in
the future, businesses will be expected to have a positive impact on climate across the entire
value chain, as well as a positive impact on the environment, people, and atmosphere, as well
as a productive contribution to society. Companies will be held accountable for all aspects of the industry, and any environmental damage or harmful emissions from productive processes
should be limited or eliminated. It is also expected that resources will be reused to
accommodate the global population increase in what is known as a 'circular economy.' This
change would allow one person's waste to become another person's resource, significantly
reducing waste and creating a more efficient supply chain.