With terms such as climate change and global warming entering our daily conversations,we take a look at the ‘in’ word these days – sustainability.
Go green! Be eco-friendly! Be environmentally conscious! These are sayings that have entered our public vocabulary in recent years – particularly with many companies now claiming to be “environmentally responsible” and having a “sustainability report” in place every year. But what does environmental sustainability actually mean?
There are a number of definitions such as the Brundtland Commission that defined sustainability as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.
Broadly, there are three pillars of sustainability: economy, society, and the environment.
The environmental aspect of sustainability concerns air, water and soil quality, ecosystem, flora and fauna preservation, waste and pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
At the core of its understanding, is the need to preserve the environment and its resources.
Why does it matter?
In recent years, the term (environmental) sustainability has gathered a lot of attention because of the growing climate crisis and global warming.
Human activities and industrial pollution have caused the Earth’s atmosphere to heat up at an unnatural pace. This has resulted in a more vehement call, worldwide, towards eco- friendly alternatives.
Another reason for the need for sustainable practices and lifestyles is because of the impact human activity has on ecosystems and biodiversity.
Through no fault of their own, flora and fauna of the planet have been subject to the stresses caused by rapidly changing environments as a direct or indirect result of human activity. Shrinking habitats and coral bleaching are reminders of how dire the crisis really is.
What we need to realise as a society is that every little action counts.
Environmental sustainability is not an abstract or elitist notion – because it impacts everyone, particularly vulnerable communities and biodiversity.
If everyone plays their role in educating themselves about using alternatives and being sustainable in their own lives, collectively, we could come together to mitigate the climate crisis we currently face.