WHAT IS SUSTAINABILITY?
We often hear this word used throughout our daily lives as we go about our days in work, social settings, and throughout social media and tv; but what does it really mean? Most of us think it has something to do with Recycling, or eating Organic foods, or using less water & electricity, and in a way, it does! There’s actually a lot more to it than that; but in a nutshell, Sustainability is an approach to Sustainable Development - a way of living that meets our present needs without depleting or compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs . To this end, there are three interconnecting areas of Sustainable Development*. In order for us to secure the future for our planet and people, we must make progress in all 3 areas concurrently.
The 3 Pillars of Sustainable Development
The Environment is often the first and most widely known area of Sustainability. It encompasses all the issues, efforts & activities individuals, communities, and businesses are making to nurture and protect the present and future state of Nature and all of her interdependent ecosystems in the web of life on Earth.
Economic matters factor quite heavily in the future development & viability of future generations on our planet. When businesses exist and act to make money without regard to the possible effects of their goods & services on our natural or human resources, there can be serious and negative human and environmental effects as a consequence. Today, more and more companies are realizing that they can and must act responsibly and with greater transparency in order to be more sustainable with their business practices. Our lives and those of our future generations depend on it.
This area of Sustainable Development is often confusing as it encompasses many complex issues and factors around the human and ethical dimensions of economic development and social progress. In general, though, it refers to the many ways humans are affected locally and globally by human and business development. For example, we have seen the negative effects of reckless business practices in the name of economic development resulting in cases of human trafficking, unfair & underage labor practices often resulting in the loss or degradation of human lives. True Sustainable Development is the realization of fundamental basic human rights of people and planet, not just profit.