We hear everywhere that we need to create a sustainable future for ourselves and, most importantly, for the upcoming generation.
It has just been memorized by all of us irrespective of acting on it or merely finding its real meaning.
Politicians throw this word frequently in their speeches, that in my office, I will ensure a sustainable future that will spring out new development opportunities. Have they done that? Or is it just the word “sustainable” or “sustainability” that ensures us the whole passage.
Even the brands use this word more frequently than ever. Be it in their brand campaign or another simple market strategy, they use it. But Why? Because they want to appeal to the consumers that they are doing something rather than nothing to be sustainable.
It’s not just about politicians or brands or companies. It is so well embedded within us that we allow the superficial use of the term “sustainable” or “sustainability” to cloud our further understanding of it.
It is high time that we not only understand the word in-depth but also act on it.
Understanding the Term
In different scenarios, we have known multiple meanings and definition of the term ‘sustainability’. Based on the power, significance and area of utilization, it varies.
The word was widely used in the 1980s and came to be a popular word since then. It is a word of significance. From Brundtland Commission’s projects to research papers and books, the term ‘sustainability’, ‘sustainable’ came into usage to a more considerable extent.
The most common definition of sustainability means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Sustainability means maintaining an ecological balance on meeting our needs without resulting in the depletion of natural resources. But sustainability isn’t just about the environment. It’s about the economy and society also.
Sustainability isn’t just about saving natural resources, but in totality, it is about upbringing society and the economy also. The living standards, quality of life, and the infrastructure’s situation, the economic condition should also have a progressive nature as the natural resources are being maintained.
Preserving natural resources and nurturing them isn’t the only way to sustainability; there needs to be a balance between societal development, economic development and environmental development.
Environment Sustainability ensures that flora and fauna remain preserved and do not replenish away because of our neglected actions.
Social Sustainability ensures the quality of life of the people and maintains peace and harmony amongst everyone.
Economic Sustainability ensures that with planned, nature-friendly economic activities, the global economy also progresses that aids in environmental sustainability and social sustainability.
Why do we need Sustainability?
Sustainability doesn’t have to come with a big plan and big projects. It can come with simple consciousness and small actions.
There is a massive change going on on our planet. The Earth has been changing drastically from its atmosphere to the natural resources in it. And the most common thing in all of these is that its depleting, the quality is degrading, resulting in our suffering.
With the growing population, we cannot live peacefully if there is depletion of the atmosphere and degradation of natural resources.
For growing lives on Earth, the lives of nature, flora, and fauna cannot be depleting.
We all have memorized it from the start; Earth is the only planet where life can nurture and grow. For our lives to be equally beneficial to the Earth, we need to make our actions more sustainable.
Remember, there is no such thing as a Second Planet or Second Earth as of now!
How can we act sustainably?
Sustainable actions are a choice.
Sustainable actions are a need.
These two statements are very different with different degree of urgency. The choice is one place that gives us freedom, flexibility and a position to think about it. Need in another place signifies urgency, immediate attention and limited constraint of freedom.
Anyway, you think of sustainability; it depends on your views and thoughts on it.
You can act sustainably by just making your small actions count. You don’t have to go to broad or mainstream to do it. You can start it from your house.
Re-evaluating your lifestyle choices can make it easier. Let’s start by understanding what we can do and how?
There are millions of different electrical appliances out there in the market. You can find appliances that work really smooth and reduce your bill too.
Shifting to LED bulbs or low consumption light bulbs can reduce your electrical consumption up to 80%. It is important to note that as it is useful to use these bulbs, we need to recycle and decompose it consciously too.
It isn’t just about saving the extra penny you can by turning off the electrical appliances when you don’t need them but also reducing your carbon footprint easily.
Use of Water
Water is the most important thing for the living organism, the environment, the society and the economy. Yet it is the most overutilized resource and is wanted heavily. The simplest thing where we waste liters of waters, can be reduced by our consciousness.
Leaving the tap running or taking long showers results in hundreds of waste water. The water you use to wash your vegetable can be collected and given to plants. There is so much of waste water from the domestic kitchen. All of these can be reduced by our consciousness.
Reducing water usage reduces the cost to process water and deliver it home, businesses, hospitals and many more. Furthermore the saved water volume can be used in another area too where there is scarcity of water.
Saving water not only reduces the environmental impact but can make a social and economical impact too.
Shifting to Reusable Bags
This is a necessity. You will hardly find plastic carry bags out in the market, and even if you do, why buy them when you can reduce your plastic consumption and save money too.
Collecting plastic bags doesn’t sound like one of your hobbies. Storing it wouldn’t do any good either. You can opt for cotton reusable bags for buying groceries or use them when you are running some errands.
Unlike regular boring, plastic bags, reusable bags can be artistic, unique and yet a sustainable approach to your shopping.
When opting for reusable bags, a very important thing is to choose the ones that can decompose easily and are organic and eco-friendly.
At this moment, knowing the amount of plastic waste harming our environment, it is smart to switch to alternatives to plastic.
Want to know more about how to switch. Read: HOW ALTERNATIVES TO PLASTIC CAN HELP YOU MAKE EARTH A BETTER PLACE?
Throwing Your Waste Separately
This might not sound like an interesting idea for many people out there to do. But, this can surely help in decomposing the waste in an easier way.
Food waste can be processed into organic fertilizers if they aren’t exposed to other harmful chemicals. Paper waste can be sent to recycling industries or upcycling industries too.Similarly, the plastic waste can be recycled to make Post-Consumer Recycled Resin and many other recycling or upcycling companies. Apart from these the rest of the waste is thrown away in the residual waste bin.
This helps in saving raw materials, lessens carbon dioxide emission and the combustion of the waste. This also means that the less residual waste you have, the more money you save. It is beneficial when the waste is thrown away in their respected categories for further recycling and decomposing. This allows the process easy and less time-consuming.
We can be sustainable in our ways in which we perceive fashion as. There is always so much of waste going out of the fashion industry.
It isn’t just about the dumping process but the making of the product too. Garments, accessories are made in bulk all around the world. So many fabrics, chemical and labour work goes into the making of such fashion pieces.
Amongst many of your clothing items, many of them take a long time to decompose and find their ways to landfill. Such waste isn’t sustainable.
To act sustainably and hold your fashion statement along we have to be conscious about the garments we wear and how they are made. Most importantly we need to understand that we aren’t opting for plastic-based garments. It not only harms the environment but our skin and our health too.
There is a detailed blog written about how you can be conscious and yet trendy in the fashion world too. To Know More, Read: SUSTAINABLE FASHION: HOW TO MAKE YOUR FASHION STATEMENT LAST LONG?
Recycle your Plastics and Paper
I’ve got plenty of empty plastic bottles that come along with my grocery items. What do I do?
In this scenario many of us choose to throw it away but you can use it to store things. Now if you don’t want plastic containers lying just around your house then you can keep it separate and then send it away for plastic recycling companies.
We all read newspapers, be it online or the hard copy. And if you are one of those who read hard copy newspaper then you might have a huge pile of old papers too that combine newspapers and other printed papers. What can you possibly so with it?
You can do some art with it, or use it in you daily use (like cleaning or layering the shelf before arranging the containers in it).
Not one those person who uses papers around in the house? There’s a solution for that too. You can send them to recycling companies that deal with the processing and manufacturing of goods from recycled paper.
Making Sustainable Habits
We must change our habits with the needs of the planet. It isn’t so difficult as we think of it. Changing some things from our habits can make a huge change in our lifestyles. Sustainable living isn’t difficult; we need to adopt some of our ways.
With so many luxuries out there in life, living sustainably is essential to experience life’s luxury and not the commodities.
Some of the ways you can try are:
– Although it is really comfortable in vehicles, try walking or riding a bicycle in short distance areas. There can be a reduction in pollution and carbon emission, i.e., reducing our carbon footprint also. This not only benefits the environment but your health also.
– To act sustainably and hold your fashion statement along we have to be conscious about the garments we wear and how they are made. Most importantly we need to understand that we aren’t opting for plastic-based garments. It not only harms the environment but our skin and our health too.
– Going out to travel or shop, you can pick up the litter you see and discard them safely in the trash cans.
-Opt for goods with sustainable packaging. It isn’t necessary to buy all your goods in plastic containers. There are a number of options that allow you to shop sustainably packaged goods.
– Spend some time in nature. Just sit there, enjoy the time in nature. It does wonders to your body. You can do some gardening, meditate, observe or plant a tree in the community.
– Reduce your red meat consumption. I do not suggest going all vegan or vegetarian at once, but gradually reducing red meat consumption can also be a great thing.
– Reduce your single-use plastic. This creates a lot of waste, and reusable, eco-friendly alternatives can easily substitute this.
These are the simplest way you can take a step into making a sustainable future.
The forgotten concept of sustainability
By the time I reached the fourth standard, my science book had a huge chapter about the 3R rule. We all learned the concept by heart and did several small projects to understand the concept in-depth as I progressed in my classes.
Now, what is the 3R’s rule all about?
The 3R’s rule is the golden mantra for sustainability. It stands for recycling, reduces and reuses.
It is a rule that aims to reduce waste and protecting the environment, and conserving resources. It means to take the maximum benefit of the goods and create a minimum amount of waste in simple ways.
To ensure waste management, reducing our waste is very essential. Buying products in loose and reducing waste isn’t a difficult task. For example: buying vegetables in loose is a better option to reduce the plastic boxes and packets. This reduces plastic waste, and buying it loose from the farmers market can help support the local farmers.
Ensuring the proper utilization of resources is really a great habit to adopt. This allows us to maximize the benefit of the products. Using products like containers, packets and clothes to their fullest use is the best way to reduce waste.
Recycling is the process of regenerating used products and turning them into new products. This results in reducing the waste to be piled up and sent to the landfill.
Effective recycling of goods requires proper waste management and waste processing in a properly planned and managed way.
You are making a positive impact.
We’ve heard so many times that “Only your effort doesn’t matter. It needs to be done on a larger level.”
But it matters. You are making an impact. Your actions have an impact.
Environment consciousness has been increasing, and we are changing our lifestyles too. Breaking the plastic habit is our goal so that we can make a positive impact.
Sustainability doesn’t come along with holding on to the habits that require excessive plastic usage. It is about changing your habits, compromising a little and adjusting them to your life.
Along with considering the impact on the environment, trying on and supporting local business also helps in raising the society and environment.
Why am I talking about the environment, society and economy altogether?
Sustainability comes in when there is a balance between environment, society and economy. And we all need to be aware of sustainability. Only going on towards saving the environment isn’t going to help. There is a huge population, and saving the environment will not result in the sustainable development of society and the economy.
Along with this, being close to nature makes our body rejuvenated and fresh. Nature helps in our mental, physical and psychological wellbeing.
It is all about the small steps we make to save the environment. Supporting homegrown business that make a positive impact to Earth are also really helpful to this agenda.
Sustainability is a choice that we all can make to do our parts in protecting the Earth. It isn’t a forceful act but a mindful step that allows us to make good choices. Any of the steps I mentioned above are pocket-friendly and eco-friendly.