Sustainability


Sustainability is a term that is often used and whose definition seems intangible. For a business to be financially sustainable, it needs to generate sufficient revenue to enable its operation year after year.

But, what if we are talking about a system of food production, or how Christmas trees are grown, transported and sold? The context changes the definition for each situation.

There’s also the concept of sustainability for an individual, a community and a country. What’s sustainable for a person may not work for a group of individuals and vice versa.

The nexus between what the individual and what the greater community does to be more sustainable, represents great promise and potential.

If a person begins implementing water saving techniques in their backyard garden, then the individual receives most of the benefits. The community also benefits because this action contributes to overall sustainability in subtle ways, which are less obvious than working with a group to achieve the same objective.

But, once that person begins, for example, to share extra produce with a neighbor, only to find that the neighbor has similar needs/desires around sustainability – a conversation is allowed to start around the issue. Involvement in community projects might stem from this simple act or lead to creating a neighborhood beautification group, that uses native plants which, in turn, create a natural habitat for honey bees. The benefits to the group, and the individuals within that group, are enhanced and experience a multiplier effect.

I believe there are key differences between individual actions that make a person’s (or household’s) lifestyle more sustainable, with that of group efforts which have a collective component, i.e. community gardens, non-profit organizations, etc.

Moving from one system or lifestyle to a more sustainable one, begins with a transition phase. Lifestyle transitions can be powerful instruments of change and will be necessary, if we are to evolve as a society to a more sustainable way of producing goods and services.

Sustainability is just a term to describe a path we are all on – some more than others. I’d like to hear what one thing you do has made your lifestyle more sustainable. Please use the comment field below.

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