Often times, people connect the term sustainability with green living. This, however, is only one small facet to the global issue of sustainability. Many Americans wonder why they should worry about such problems when there are more than enough resources to go around. However, how much longer will these resources support such wasteful lifestyles? At what point will it be too late?
Chuck Redman, in his presentation, points out that the concept of sustainability is nothing new, even if the word itself is. He quotes President Theodore Roosevelt as saying, “The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired in value.” This is the environmental aspect of sustainability in a nutshell. If the people in today’s world do not prepare for future generations to use the earth, then there will not be anything of worth left to use.
Sustainability does not only refer to preparing for the future. Many people around the globe do not live with the same luxuries felt by most Americans. It is the responsibility of those with the power and ability to help provide survival resources for those people who cannot get it for themselves.
When businesses strive for sustainability, they need to take into consideration three things: “economic prosperity, environmental quality, and social equity” (Redman). Consumers can also make a difference by considering the amount of energy used to make their products, under what conditions it was produced, if it reusable and/or recyclable, etc. By joining advocacy groups for sustainability and becoming involved in moving the community in this direction, everyone can help make a difference today.