Sustainability is an idea under which things are done or resources are used without diminishing their quality or quantity over time. The term ‘sustainability’ is ubiquitous today since every field in every part of the world is trying to implement its essence or principles to make the world a better place for humans to live in.
Sustainability mostly refers to Environmental Sustainability and is often used interchangeably with Sustainable Development. The most commonly known definition of sustainability comes from The UN Brundtland Commission which defines sustainability as “the development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” For several decades, sustainability has had a large impact on driving national and global decisions but its repetitive usage has turned it into a buzzword and it has started losing its meaning. So, understanding sustainability and its importance and implementing its principles are critical, especially while dealing with serious environmental threats. Here are 10 reasons why sustainability is important.
#1. Sustainability is the key to environmental health.
There is no denying the fact that ecosystems around the world are suffering at the cost of human needs and desires. Sustainability tries to offset the widespread consequences of the action of humans since the industrial revolution. Sustainability encourages humans, companies and nations to reduce their carbon footprint, consumption and release of harmful chemicals into the ecosystems. This helps keep the environment healthy and safe.
#2. Sustainability helps to achieve food security.
One of the most significant applications of sustainability is in agriculture. Sustainability in agriculture helps to protect the world’s farmland from deterioration due to excessive usage of chemicals so that enough food can be continuously produced to meet the exponentially increasing food demand of the increasing population. In agriculture, sustainability is achieved by using bio-manures, establishing a circular economy, reducing or recycling food waste, etc.
#3. Sustainability solves the world’s energy and resources problem.
Almost all world problems can be traced back to the most common form of energy that drove the industrial revolution, i.e. fossil fuel. Sustainable development aims at drastically reducing the usage of fossil fuels which are non-renewable and extremely harmful to the environment. sustainable enery sources include solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, hydroelectricity, etc which have zero emission and can be used perpetually.
#4. Sustainability prevents the extinction of species.
The UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) stated that around 150 species go extinct every day. This is a scary figure considering that those species will never get to live on this beautiful planet again and our future generations will not get to observe or use them in any way. And this mishappening is a direct result of the unsustainable practices of humans. As a result, one of the major importance or goal of the sustainability movement is to make sure that the right of every living being to live on this planet is secured. Proper sustainable conservation and protection approaches can help prevent the further extinction of species.
#5. Sustainability brings social inclusion and equality.
There are three infamous pillars of sustainability: Environmental, Economic and Social(Equity). Social inclusion or Equality is one of the major pillars that holds sustainability in place. If we achieve a state where the environment and the economy were thriving but all the benefits were being reaped by a select few individuals based on race or location while others suffered, it would not be a sustainable and desirable state. In fact, sustainability can never be achieved if we exclude its social dimension. The social dimension of sustainability incorporates important aspects like women empowerment, education, solidarity, equitable profit sharing and so on.
#6. Sustainability reduces costs and saves money.
Sustainability is important financially in two ways. First, it makes systems efficient and this reduces operating costs. For example, sustainability in a company includes the efficient use of energy so that it reduces the cost of energy. Secondly, it eliminates the need for highly expensive corrective measures. For example, if a landscape is maintained sustainably, it will maintain its integrity and there will be no need for expensive landscape restoration projects. Sustainable forest management eliminates the need for afforestation and reforestation expenses.
#7. Sustainability creates job opportunities.
The job opportunities that can be directly linked to sustainability are called “Green jobs”. Green jobs are decent jobs that contribute towards the protection, preservation or wise utilization of natural resources. Green jobs are jobs found in cicular economies. The job opportunities created by sustainability come in all levels of several disciplines. For example, green entrepreneurs, technicians, ecoological scientists, foresters, biologists, urban farmers, sustainable farm owners, etc.
#8. Sustainability of a company is a marketing benefit.
Companies are needed to publish their sustainability reports every year. The findings of these reports are used by companies to demonstrate their commitment to the environment. This is a large selling point for companies targeting eco-conscious consumers, the number of which is increasing at a rapid pace. However, many companies even exploit this by making false claims about their actions and policies, known as green washing. Nevertheless, sustainability is a great marketing mechanism in today’s world, not just for companies but also for national and international policies.
#9. Sustainability drives innovation.
The main prerequisite of innovation is the ability to change new perspectives on solving problems. Since sustainability demands change in how things are done currently, it can never be achieved without innovation. Sustainability drives innovation in technologies, processes and ideas. The obvious example of sustainability driving innovation is the rapid innovation in electric vehicle technology and its widespread popularity.
#10. Sustainability ensures the survival of humans on planet Earth.
Humanity is facing many serious threats for its survival all at once. Around 1/3rd of all human food is wasted while almost a billion people face hunger. 14 million tons of plastic find its way into the ocean every year. 150 species go extinct every day. The earth’s temperature is constantly rising towards it threshold. Every 9 out of 10 person on the world breathe polluted air. The sea levels are rising and arable land are being exhausted.
These day show the tragic reality of how the earth today is functioning and this can’t go on for long. The one answer to all these problems is sustainability and there is not alternative to sustainability because as a wholistic concept, it addresses all the problems at once.