As outlined by Google dictionary, the word sustainability itself is a noun meaning the “ability to maintain.” More specifically, to AVOID depleting natural resources.
So, turn that into an action (as humans in charge of this planet we’ve been deemed responsible for), to act sustainably would involve our efforts to MAINTAIN and CARE for our natural resources.
Quick clarity on our natural resources; land, ocean, air, and the things that exist organically in each.
Why It’s Important
This could sound like a primary school earth lesson, however there’s clarity found in simplicity, so to answer the above question of importance; sustainability becomes important when a lack of maintenance to that which allows for life on earth presents itself.
With neglected care to the most basic thing gifted to us – earth – what importance is any of the excess?
For example: You finally bought the car you’ve been budgeting for years to invest in. This car is intended to provide a smooth trip to work each day, with the added intention of taking the family on regular, weekend getaways – as it provides the space and gas mileage your previous model lacked. With the best of intentions set into place concerning the new car, you neglect your every day health. After several visits to the doc, you discover lifestyle stressors lead you to suffer from severe high blood pressure, paired with a grocery list of side effects. You are advised against driving for the foreseeable future and encouraged to refrain from extended travel, keeping you at a comfortable distance to your family physician.
All focus went to the shiny new car while the basic element of your personal health was cast aside. The end result eliminated the use of the new toy you intended to enjoy, while declining the base line of your existence; your health.
On a larger scale the planet is to your health as the shiny new car is to anything excess we have designed as added comfort to our lives.
TAKE CARE OF OUR BASE LINE.
The General Dirrection
So what does our general health look like at the moment in regards to our planet?
There are a million ways to answer this question and a million different answers you will find. Let’s take a really general look.
A basic one; population. From 1960 up to 2017 the human population on earth MORE THAN doubled. We went from around 3 billion to 7.5 billion in a span of 6 decades. That is a massive population boom in the grand scheme of life’s time table. (1)
Consider a quaint family of four going about their lives; driving their kids to school, putting dinner on the table each night, stacking savings aside for college funds – suddenly gets pregnant with twins and doubles the needs of their initial two humans – literally over night. It’s evident that some changes to the family routine and potential income would need to change dramatically. The earth is no different. We are stretching, creating resources for our new set of twins (to what is more or less in mother earths time table), over night.
This is not written as a scare tactic with intents of converting you to a hard core minimalism. Just enough information to bring about some thought. Figuratively speaking; is there any way we can move towards providing for all these new children, raising them in an environment where needs are met, while learning to drop a few peripherals (single use plastics, biweekly car detail, monthly trip to the toy store), we could move in the direction of a more sustainable frame of thought and life.
How Do I Act Sustainably?
As noted with the general direction of mother earth, it’s easy to see the importance of being and becoming more sustainable. Now, what do we do as individuals to make this sustainable decision? Is it difficult?
Pick on thing. Maybe you change one thing a month, and by the end of the year there are 12 things you find yourself doing differently.
Using reusable shopping bags.
Carpooling with other families to school.
Recycling bottles towards a travel fund.
The list could go on and be as creative or applicable to your own individual life style. Start taking on the mindset of bringing multiple use objects into your routine, or adopting activities and actions that return something to your life. Go further than the one time uses, give back to yourself, give back to the earth.
If you are having a difficult time wrapping your mind around easy ways to incorporate sustainable habits into your life, take a look at some of these life hacks that could make the decision to convert a bit less intimidating.