Sustainability means that things can keep going, can sustain themselves, can continue into the future and go on forever. From a human perspective sustainability for our planet means that it can continue to do what it was designed to do: provide fresh air, clean water, produce food, and allow us all to have a high quality of life forever.
Unsustainability means that it cannot, and that is where we are now.
20 years ago, scientists form Sweden developed a definition for sustainability with Four basic principles. These can be seen as the care instructions for our planet. If we follow them, it is good for our planet and because we are a part of the system that is our planet, it is good for us too. the care instructions are as follows:
Reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and heavy metals
Reduce our dependence on synthetic chemicals that persist in nature
Reduce our destruction of nature
Ensure that we are not stopping people from meeting their needs
Demand for the Earth’s services: clean air, water and food, increases as the population increases and living standards rise. But the Earth’s ability to provide these services is declining because of the way we are living. In our search for prosperity, growth and success we are destroying the system that we as humans are completely dependent upon: Nature. We humans have become a threat to our own way of life.
The Earth is a system and everything is connected: society, environment and economy. To live sustainably, we need to follow the four care instructions and apply them to everything we do at home and at work. If we can follow these care instructions, we can work together to be sustainable. We will all have a better quality of life, we’ll waste less, we’ll pollute less, and we’ll create more things we value in society while improving our planet’s chances of providing us with the very things we need to survive.