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What does sustainability mean to you?

Wednesday, May. 6, 2009

This quarter has given me a better appreciation for how challenging the concept of sustainability is. I don't think I can particularly define sustainability now, but I think it is mostly just the effort to create a lifestyle that can be continued, or sustained, as long as humans exist. We have acknowledged that sustainability is difficult to determine because it has so many value judgments associated with it, such as how many people can we sustain, what do we need, and what constitutes a happy/good lifestyle.

It is also somewhat of a circular concept, because a lot of us (including myself) fall into the trap of defining sustainability as "being sustainable". However, I think working towards simply having less of an environmental impact in a number of ways is a good direction to start. For us as students, sustainability also involves reaching out and educating those who aren't aware of what it is, and incorporating sustainable ideas and practices into a normal daily lifestyle. It is also ensuring that not only the environment but also that other humans, whether here or in developing countries, aren't negatively impacted by our choices. Finally, sustainability is about taking into account the consequences our choices and actions have on the environment, recognizing that we are part of our environment rather than separate from it, and finding new ways to live without compromising what we consider to be our current needs and wants.

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