The most widely quoted definition of sustainability comes from Brundtland Commission of the United Nations in 1987, which defined sustainability as “The development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.We live in the age where people are unaware of the very interesting sight of sustainability. We may recognize that sustainability is the capacity to endure or continue. If a product or an activity is sustainable it can maintain itself and remain productive in a long period of time. However, we might just overlook at some point where sustainability also is the same thing that encourages and provides incentives for change rather than mandating change in this world. Therefore, sustainability helps to preserve the earth and ensure the continued survival and nourishment for the future generations. Sustainable development means that we need to keep three things in mind at once which is the social progress, economic development and climate and environment.
If you wonder if something is sustainable, you can ask yourself. Can we do this over and over again forever? Let’s just take a look at the first pillar of sustainable development which is social sustainability. For example satisfying human needs can form a sustainable life. Practices to ensure that the cohesion of society and its ability to work towards common goals are maintained. This is why social sustainability is crucial. Individual needs such as those for health and well-being, nutrition, shelter, education and cultural expression. Can we invent a new way to satisfy our needs for freedom and identity that do not require buying and consuming so much stuff?
In the second place, the economic development represents the process in which people in a country become wealthier, healthier, get better education and have greater access to good quality housing. As for the example the average life expectancy i.e the lifespan of a single community, the environmental standards and the education standards. Economic growth is a vital condition for development. However, just the economic growth is not enough because it cannot guarantee development. Therefore, all the 3 pillars must be consistent at all cost in order to achieve sustainability.
Last but not least, environmental sustainability. We all know what we need to do to protect the environment, whether that is recycling, reducing our power consumption by switching electronic devices off rather than using standby. Businesses are regulated to prevent pollution and to keep their own carbon emissions low. Environmental protection is the third pillar and to many, the primary concern of the future of humanity. It defines how we should study and protect ecosystems, air quality and sustainability of our resources and focusing on the elements that place stress on the environment. In this case, there should be no compromise in defense of Mother Earth.
As a conclusion, of course it is always easier said than done. We cannot maintain our quality of life as human beings, the diversity of life on Earth, or Earth’s ecosystems unless we embrace it. There are indications from all quarters and from the smallest to the largest scale that sustainability is something we must address. Thousands if not millions of animal species will go extinct. We will run out of lumber. We will damage the atmosphere beyond repair but only if we don’t change. And the root of that change lies in understanding and striving for sustainability—in our own homes, in our communities, in our ecosystems, and around the world.
Syaza Nur Adilah Binti Abd Khalik