What is a Sustainable Environment

Too often people feel the need to categorize living in a so-called “sustainable environment” by recycling discarded goods, replacing aged bulbs with eco-friendly CFLs, and taking a bus or train occasionally to work and/or school. The truth of the matter is that these are just a minuscule characteristic of the overall concept of living green in a sustainable world. When it really comes down to it, people, as in an individual basis, are dumbfounded at the amount of unnecessary energy and resources they’re consuming on any given day. And, even more shocking, is their apparent naivety to the real consequences of every action they partake in, every food they purchase, and even every piece of furniture and clothing that line their homes.

To really grasp the idea strongly and see where we stand in our specific lives, we must all take a moment to really evaluate our ecological footprints to see how our actions affect the world we live in. It isn’t until then will we know what we can change about our practices that will ultimately have a positive, lasting impression on the Earth’s well-being. Anything above “1 Earth” use (as is defined by many competent evaluation sites), is not living sustainable because it literally means that we’re absorbing resources beyond what’s actually available on this planet. We only need to have what is necessary to survive. The planet is an amazingly powerful source of self-replenishment and adaptivity, but there is only so much room for our Earth to compensate for the constant depletion of natural goods and services that are necessary for every day life.

Sure, it’s true that in any geographic location in the world, the concept of what’s really “necessary” differs from person to person, from population to population. Can our country thrive and reproduce without electricity? Does a tribal group in Ethiopia need clean water to fight disease? Is it necessary for field archaeologists and historical conservationists to travel from all over to the great pyramids of Egypt to study and protect their evolutionary significance? These are just a few examples of debatable topics that actually affect our planet both positively and negatively. Without knowing where we came from, how will we know where to go? Without advancement, how will we heighten our intellect? And, even more dramatic, how will we survive, literally survive, without safe food and water in our bodies? Sadly, it isn’t until we’re faced with the most dire of situations that our perspective on what’s important and actually a viable part of our growth and enrichment, that we come to accept the fact that the material possessions and inconsequential items that clutter our lives are hurting the world we live in so badly, that even the most educated and dedicated ecologists won’t be able to correct the damage that has been done.

To live in a sustainable environment can be easy, but it takes the psychological aspect of separating what we need with what we want. Go for a walk. Buy recycled cottons and organic foods. Invest energy in volunteering and educating the public on outlets for alternative energy consumption. Delegate within your household what’s necessary to live and what can be overlooked. There is a plethora of information out that on how to truly live a greener life, and all it takes is a moment to read an article or sit in on a local seminar. Remember, the idea of protecting the environment isn’t a fad because its importance won’t fade away in a couple of years. We have the intelligence and ability to procure and protect our world, so why not use that brain power efficiently?