The Merriam-Webster definition of sustainable is “able to last or continue for a long time” and says the word was first used around 1727. These days sustainability is almost always used in connection with our environment.
What it is
The EPA says environmental sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.
From the Wikipedia entry on sustainability: Healthy ecosystems and environments are necessary to the survival and flourishing of humans and other organisms. So you can see why it’s a pretty important issue.
How we can do it
Even so, it’s not going to be easy to accomplish. For one thing we are a nation of consumers, we like to have lots of stuff. When science and technology make cars more fuel-efficient, we travel farther and more often. Business are reluctant to “go green” because it’s often costly and time-consuming.
David Owen in his book The Conundrum says “In order to soften our main environmental impacts, we need to find ways, globally, to live smaller, live closer, and drive less.” Living smaller, living closer and driving less is not naturally the American way. So here’s my idea: if we try to slow down our lives, live more deliberately, indulge more in nature and activities that involve using our own energy, the rest will follow.
The Library can help
For a great start, come to the TSCPL Green Fair on April 19, 2014 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Learn about gardening, healthy eating, bicycles, re-using, re-cycling, animals, rivers, gems and minerals. Meet people and organizations with same concern of lessening our impact on the environment….and have fun!
What is your favorite idea for helping the environment?