The Ever-Increasing Importance of Sustainability in Modern Life
By Webb WardWhat we have on this planet will not last forever, so it’s up to us to change the way we live so our children will not be left to deal with the consequences. ‘Sustainability’ is something that can be applied to many things in life, not just business. To be sustainable is to have the ability to work and succeed without having an adverse effect (or at least a minimal one!) on the environment, society or economy around you. As fossil fuels run lower we hardly have a choice in the matter, and in recent decades we have seen a welcome shift were large businesses and everyday consumers have made conscious efforts to sell or buy products that have been produced ethically.
In the last 10 years there have been various incentives implemented for businesses and households to become more environmentally friendly. Examples of these include prizes for the best eco-friendly businesses, money-back deals if certain targets are met, and even tax breaks in some locations. Companies like Amee, are also on hand to advise businesses on how run sustainably and access the environmental and financial risk of your supply chain. Making your business sustainable does not only save you money, it also opens up an entirely new market made up of those who choose to buy from, or do business with the companies with respectable, eco-friendly business plans. If you’re struggling to wrap your head around this, think of the much-documented ‘middle-class guilt’ that leads to moneyed individuals buying fair-trade so they can feel less awkward about their privileged social standing.
What we must overcome
There’s no doubt that an enormous amount of fantastic work is being done around the world to make fair-trade and sustainable business blossom, but unfortunately there are people, corporations and countries that continue to make money without caring about the environmental, economic, and social impacts of what they are doing. Some businesses choose to sacrifice an areas beauty by stripping forests but at the same time provide local communities with hundreds of jobs. Others continue to build coal fired power stations despite the pollution they cause, simply to power cities whose population has unsustainably spiralled out of control. It isn’t easy to say which corporations are ‘evil’ and which are doing what they have to do in order to survive, but there is hope that over the next 50 years with all the technological advancements that are expected, many of these industries that leave their mark in an ugly way might change for the better or be replaced by those who strive to do business sustainably. This article from the Guardian states that three quarters of the power stations due to be built in the last two years were situated in China and India.
What you can do
There is an almost infinite amount of ways that you can help fight against unsustainable living and give something back to planet earth. You could start off by recycling whatever you can, turning off all electrics before you go to bed, and setting up a monthly donation to any one of the respectable environmental charities. However, it isn’t up to me to tell you the best way to help, as anything you do to help will make a difference.