The Definition and Importance of Sustainability

Throughout the semester, we’ve acknowledged the amount of times sustainability has come up in environmental problems And without fail, defining sustainability has been as difficult on the last day of the semester as it was on the first day we began discussing the topic. My opinions on sustainability have not changed since the beginning of the semester because of the constant interconnectedness to social and economic issues it holds, My group’s original definition was, “Sustainability is the balanced consideration of environmental, economic and social goals.

In order to achieve it, people must work together to manage resource use, increase personal awareness, and gain accountability towards ownership of environmental sustainability. Sustainability is vital for respecting nature and current and future human rights” Balancing and acknowledging the relationship between environmental, social, and economic factors in order to respect nature for current and future human rights is essential in understanding sustainability, Since my definition of sustainability is the balanced consideration of environmental, economic, and social goals, attempting to manage resource use is essential, While the environment is the defining factors of sustainability due to its interconnectedness to the other aspects of the triple bottom line (social and economic), finding and creating a system that saves resources while aiding in producing other economic and social goals, is ideal in supporting sustainability.

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The most important way to manage resources is to manage human consumption— which could be crowned the number one direct harmful impactl To reduce the impact human consumption holds, we should consuming less and also be contributing to the next cycle of sustainable production.

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It is an undeniable fact that humans need food, energy, materials, and water to survive, But if we were able to contribute more to the production of human needs, we could potentially create a sustainable living cycle. In her book Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert mentions that sufficient inputs of energy are necessary for sustainable survivalt Our society producing large amounts of energy to receive resources like food, water, energy, but do little to nothing to reproduce that energy. As a human race, if we are able to create as much energy as we are consuming, we would be on the road to a sustainable environment. Kolbert also states that sustainability is the desired goal of environmental management and since our modern culture is consumed by economic and social growth, increasing personal awareness and taking responsibility for our actions can fix the issue of sustainability. Many consumers in society do not recognize or understand the idea of sustainability because it seemly makes no difference in their world. Therefore, while our society continues to grow and thrive, the environment and sustainability continues to decline.

My ideas have slightly changed when it comes to understanding social and economic factors that influence sustainability. At the beginning of the semester, I viewed social and economic factors as the enemy because of the apparent harm they may be causing on the environment, However, over the semester I’ve seen how social factors can affect the environment in positive and negative ways. For example, our class discussion of environmental justice. We found that social factors like race, class, gender, and region can affect the environment in different ways. In poor African American communities, nuclear power plants may be built in Cancer Alley, Louisiana, While the rich communities in Salt Lake City live in the Avenues… above the inversion line. Comparing the idea of sustainability to areas like Cancer Alley, I find that there are courses social environmental studies can take to produce and recreate a new sustainable location. While I didn’t change my opinion of sustainability from the beginning of the semester, I still find it hard to contrast sustainability and the last factor of the triple bottom line, economics Economics deals with how people living in the world of scarcity make choices. As inhabitants of the world, i believe that this is where we lack understanding, If we live in a world that holds scarce resources, sustainability should be the first thing we are concerned about.

Instead we continue to see the looting of resources worldwide. Scientist, professors, government officials, and even students see that the destruction of resources is not sustainable. The most important example that comes to mind is the deforestation in the amazon to create space for cattle grazing, Destroying amazing biodiversity to raise food for half the world is extremely unsustainable. Also, like we talked in class, the carrying capacity of the planet is far past its size, but economics encourages and sustains the growth of the human population. While my position hasn’t changed since the beginning of the semester, I now clearly understand how social and economic factors directly influence environmental impact, The triple bottom line continuously works together and proves its interconnectedness to environmental, social, and economic factors. I find this process of understanding the triple bottom line to be extremely difficult, Just as Kolbert mentions in The Sixth Extinction, how we’ve described in class, and the countless times I‘ve heard someone ask was sustainability means, it continuously proves itself to be difficult to describe and understand. The most important aspect of my personal definition of sustainability is that sustainability is vital for respecting nature and current and future human rights. Future generations are more important than the current generation that inhibits the planet because they are the hope for the future, To truly understand sustainability, we must understand that if there is no efforts towards sustainability now”. there will be nothing to sustain later.

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The Definition and Importance of Sustainability. (2022, Jul 25). Retrieved from

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