What is Sustainability?
Updated: May 31, 2020
The term "sustainability" is used a lot, has a lot of different definitions and used by a range of different stakeholders and bodies to convey different things. It's important to set out what I believe sustainability to be to me, to this website and to you.
The most commonly used definition of Sustainable Development is taken from The Brundtland Report:
"Sustainable Development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
Sustainability typically involves a delicate balance with environmental, social and economic pillars. With too much bias to one element of the equation (including to environmental) sustainability isn't, well, sustainable. See image below from Thwink.org
To me and my personal life, Sustainability is what it says on the tin and most importantly, something that I can maintain. I think of sustainable living as:
"A choice to reduce, mitigate or improve environmental & social issues, that is economically positive, socially and personally enriching, ethical and a practical and a viable long term lifestyle."
Much of the time these personal choices are very simple and easy to follow, benefit my health, my wallet and our planet. The notion of sustainability should not be intimidating. It is simply..
Starting Tips for Evolving into a Sustainable Lifestyle
There are lots of details, ideas and inspirations on how to live a more sustainable life. However, when starting out, here is some of my key ideas.... 1; Consume less and waste less. Super straight forward and cliff notes to what much of a sustainable lifestyle boils down to. Use products until the end of their lifespan and then replace with a long lasting, eco friendly and quality products. There is a lot of freedom (not to mention financial benefits) to minimalism! Producing less waste is a great place to start with sustainability. 2; That leads to... don't simply throw things out if they aren't "eco". In a transition to a more sustainable lifestyle it's tempting to throw all the cheese in the bin and get rid of your conventional toiletries. However- it's best to use up products that aren't extremely detrimental (see- microbeads). By wasting less, use up products you don't want to use long term, so that when they are finished you can buy products you stand by. If you are really uncomfortable using/ wearing products, send clothes to the charity shop and give your friends your shampoo! 3; Do your own reading. I read a lot when I write articles, but nothing beats doing your own research. Hit up Google Scholar and read the articles yourself to form your own opinion. Sustainability topics are rarely straight forward, but there is a wealth of material out there- so get stuck in. We have a great article here with some important guidance for researching.
We also have lots of resources to help you learn more about ecoliving. Head to the "resources' tab on the menu and browse the huge amount of blogs on a range on topics!