Eco Friendly World - Sustainability

Sustainability is defined as “meeting present needs without compromising the needs of the future generations.” In order to achieve sustainability, humans must find and utilize resources that will not cause deprivation to nature. While resources used in perfect sustainability will be natural, they must also be renewable in some manner. There are four types of sustainability, each dependent upon the other three. For a truly sustainable world, all four must be met for each person on the planet.

Economic Sustainability

Food, water, and shelter are the most basic human needs and as long as everyone can afford them, we have economic stability. Unfortunately, in the current state of the world that is not the case. Economic sustainability is highly dependent upon environmental sustainability. High demand and low supply drives up prices and with taxation, many people and business entities cannot afford the few resources they need to survive. Bankruptcy is serious, but the high-consumption rates of some countries leave little to no resources for others. In order to maintain economic sustainability, everyone in the world would need a certain steady income and then use it to build their nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

Environmental Sustainability

As previously mentioned, environmental sustainability is closely tied to economic stability. With absolute environmental stability, the impact of humans would not be noticeable over any period of time. For every tree cut down, there would be one grown in its place. The types of resources used are also great factors. Today, we are incredibly dependent on natural resources that are either finite or cannot be renewed as quickly as they are consumed. There is a limited supply of fossil fuels on Earth, however wind and solar energy is everlasting. In order to achieve environmental sustainability, we need to harness these powers to a greater extent.

Human Sustainability

Human sustainability often left off of lists because it so obvious. It literally means having sustainable humans – ones who can raise and care for children. Human sustainability can only be achieved when economic, environmental and social factors allow it. Currently, there are many people in the world who are self-sustained, while there are many more who struggle with one or more of the requirements based on their living conditions.

Social Sustainability

Social sustainability is based on the programs and opportunities for cultural enrichment through social interaction. In order to maintain it, diversity must be respected and the vulnerable must be protected. Part of today’s social sustainability involves the corporations that hire employees and find investors globally. These organizations are also highly tied to economic sustainability, and many of the crossover aspects between the two can be seen through their processes. The ideal society would be a “global community,” and while today’s technology could support it, there are issues with other types of sustainability that interfere with the possibility of attaining this ideal.

Here is some further information on the four types of sustainability:

End Poverty: A campaign to stop world hunger by the year 2015.

Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center: Environmental Sustainability Index covering data for the years 2000, 2001 and 2002.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: Biomarkers for health & environmental sustainability.

Alliance for Environmental Sustainability: A non-profit organization dedicated to creating a sustainable building industry.

MDG Monitor: What are some reasonable goals pertaining to environmental sustainability?

EPA: The official website of the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education: Thorough information on plant and animal production and how they can be viewed from different sustainability contexts.

Defining Sustainability: An evolution of the definition of sustainability.

Toward a Culture of Sustainability: A twelve-sector outline of what sustainability includes.

Types of Sustainability: A breakdown of the four main types of sustainability: economic, environmental, human, and social.

Economic Sustainability: All about this type of sustainability including control, measuring growth, taxation fairness, bank reform, job creation, and how all of the other types of sustainability are interrelated.

Economics of Sustainability: Learn about the history and trends of human economics.

Sustainable Economy: Why is having a sustainable economy so crucial to civilization?

Social Sustainability: The definition of social sustainability and some links to case studies.

Indicators of Sustainable Development: Definition and analysis of sustainability.

Social Sustainability as a Business Differentiator: The concepts and conditions to sustainability and how they relate to each other.

Progress and Sustainability: Serious questions to consider when trying to understand sustainability (mostly environmental) and why it is so difficult to achieve in full.

Human Sustainability (PDF): All about human sustainability, fighting hunger, and funding progress.

Sustainability in Agriculture: A guide to biodiversity, global climate change and plans for the future.

Human Security to Sustainable Security (PDF): How long will it be until sustainability can be realized?

Dimensions of Sustainability: Sustainability should not be achieved unless we can reach it without compromising basic human values.

Winchester (PDF): Material on economic sustainability analyzing current wages and where today’s trends are leading us.

GPO Access: Data on ecological sustainability in parks and forests

Is Humanity Sustainable? (PDF): An article that explores whether or not humanity can continue to thrive considering their consumption of biomass.

National Science Foundation (PDF): An outline of this organization’s sustainability efforts.

Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems: An article on human impact the agriculture and how humans can be added to the environmental agenda.

Council for Chemical Research: Overviews of some of the National Science Foundation’s sustainability grants including the Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems and the Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability Fellows.

FedCenter: The federal government’s official sustainability website.

Defining Sustainability: Without knowing the official definition of sustainability, it is impossible to take steps to attain it.

University of Chicago: How one college has taken the reins in the fight for sustainability.