By Sai Sailaja Seshadri
What is sustainability?
Taken from Boston College's website:
"The Brutland Commission, formally known as the World Commission of Environment and Development (WCED), has defined sustainable development in a report titled Our Common Future, "as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” "
A quick video that I found on youtube that explains the aspects of sustainability:
The three approaches to a more sustainable planet
Conservation: If each person uses only the amount of a resource that is necessary, rather than wasting it, the environment will grow rapidly
Efficiency: The ability to use the least amount of something for the most productivity
Climate Change + Energy Conservation
Waste Management + Recycling
The official definition for Zero Waste, as created by the Zero Waste Alliance (ZWA) is as follows:
Zero Waste is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use. Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them. Implementing Zero Waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that are a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health.
The goal is to make the earth much more sustainable in several different ways: less waste not only means more free land, it also means less pollution and less injuries and deaths of animals - for example, waste that ends up in the ocean can severely harm and often times even kill different species in the water and reducing the amount of garbage produced can decrease this issue.
How can we change this?
- Rely more on renewable resources as they harm the planet less
- Decrease usage of aerosol propellants
- Decrease burning of fossil fuels - carpool, condemn factories that use extreme amounts of finite energy etc.
- Increase biodiversity and population of species by 1) killing less animals each year for food 2) reduce habitat loss caused by deforestation and other human choices 3) raise awareness to stop poaching
- Try not to create as much waste on a daily basis - pack reusable lunches, stop using plastic water bottles, recycle more etc.
How are all these aspects connected?
- Each hour, 25,000,000 plastic bottles are thrown away
- Out of 62 million newspapers printed each day, 44 million will be thrown away - this is the equivalent of throwing away 500,000 trees each week
- A person living in America uses approximately 15x as much energy as someone in a developing country
- A bath takes about 60 gallons of water
- Just paper and packaging materials account for about 31% of all waste in the country
"Energy and Climate Change." N.p., n.d. Web. 01 June 2015.
"Boston College." Know Your Facts. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 June 2015.
"Climate Change .:. Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform." Climate Change .:. Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 June 2015.
"CREATING A PROSPEROUS AND INCLUSIVE FUTURE WITHOUT WASTE." Welcome to the Zero Waste Alliance. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 June 2015.