Have you ever wondered why sustainability matters? It's a term that we've been hearing more and more lately – but what does it actually mean and why should we care? In general, sustainability is all about creating a better future for ourselves, our planet, and the generations to come. It's about finding a way to meet our needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own. In this article, we're going to explore the reasons why sustainability is so important. So let's dive in!
Environmental Impact of Unsustainable Practices
Pollution and waste from unsustainable practices have a devastating impact on our environment. For instance, plastic waste is one of the biggest threats to marine life. And experts warn that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish (Kaplan, 2016).
Another significant impact of unsustainable practices is climate change. Greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide and methane trap heat in the atmosphere. This causes the planet to warm up. As a result, we are witnessing melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and more frequent extreme weather events like hurricanes and wildfires. It is estimated that one million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction due to human activity (Daigle& Janicki, 2022).
We can reduce waste by recycling and composting. Even simple actions like using reusable bags, water bottles, and coffee cups instead of single-use plastics can help.
Social Impact of Unsustainable Practices
Negative impact on communities: For example, toxic chemicals from industrial waste can contaminate local water supplies. This leads to health problems for people living nearby. And when natural resources are depleted, it's often the poorest and most vulnerable communities that suffer the most.
This is why social justice is an important part of sustainability. We need to make sure that everyone can enjoy clean air, water, and food. For example, we can invest in renewable energy like solar or wind power. This can create jobs and help the economy grow. Another way to help communities is to build community gardens. People can grow their own fresh fruits and veggies. We can use things like bikes or buses to get around. This can improve access to education and job opportunities.
Sustainable business practices can also benefit communities. For instance, companies that prioritize ethical sourcing and fair labor practices can help ensure that workers are treated fairly and that resources are used in a responsible way. By supporting these companies, we can promote sustainability and social justice at the same time. Aside from our KansoDesign sustainable pots, here are a few of our favorite companies that practice sustainability:
- Who Gives A Crap - produces sustainable toilet paper, made from bamboo and recycled paper.
- Pela Case - produces phone cases made from biodegradable materials such as plant-based biopolymers and flax shive. They also offer a phone case recycling program.
- Allbirds - produces sustainable shoes made from materials like merino wool and eucalyptus trees.
- Bee's Wrap - produces sustainable food wrap made from organic cotton and beeswax, a natural alternative to plastic wrap.
Economic Impact of Unsustainable Practices
Unsustainable practices can also lead to increased production costs, reduced availability of natural resources, and economic damage from environmental disasters (One Planet Network, n.d.). These can result in reduced profits for businesses, higher costs for consumers, and damage to the overall economy. For example, loss of natural resources leads to higher production costs and reduced profits for businesses. And when environmental disasters occur, they can cause significant economic damage and disruption.
Why Sustainability Matters
Cleaner, healthier environment: Using renewable energy sources and reducing waste help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, This leads to improved public health and a more livable environment.
Protects wildlife and biodiversity, preserving the beauty and natural wonders of our planet.
Promotes social justice and equity: Supporting sustainable agriculture and local businesses can help create jobs and stimulate economic growth in communities. These help ensure access to clean water, food, and other essential resources for everyone.
Long-term economic benefits: By reducing costs and increasing efficiency, businesses can increase profitability and stay competitive in the marketplace. Sustainable industries, such as renewable energy and green technology, are also growing rapidly, providing new job opportunities and driving economic growth.
Individuals can also take action to promote sustainability by making conscious choices such as reducing waste, conserving energy, and supporting sustainable products and businesses.
Practical sustainable tips for individuals
- Take shorter showers, fix leaks, and use water-efficient appliances to reduce water usage;
- Turn off lights and electronics when not in use; use energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances, and reduce heating and cooling usage;
- Recycle, compost, use reusable bags, water bottles, and food containers, and avoid single-use products to reduce waste;
- Reduce meat consumption or shift towards a plant-based diet;
- Use public transportation, bike, or walk instead of driving alone;
- Support local and sustainable businesses and products;
- Plant trees, gardens, or support reforestation efforts;
- Advocate for sustainability in your community and at work.
Sustainability matters because it benefits our environment, society, and economy in the long run. By taking action and practicing sustainability, both individuals and businesses can make a positive impact on our planet and secure a better future for ourselves and future generations.
Daigle, K. & Janicki, J. (2022). Human activity puts 1 million species on the brink, threatening ecosystems. The Japan Times. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2022/12/27/world/extinction-crisis/
Kaplan, S. (2016). By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans, study says. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/01/20/by-2050-there-will-be-more-plastic-than-fish-in-the-worlds-oceans-study-says/
One Planet Network. (n.d.). Natural-resources use and environmental impacts. https://www.oneplanetnetwork.org/SDG-12/natural-resource-use-environmental-impacts
From Waste to Resource
Our efforts and commitment to waste reduction and sustainability begin with our production process.
Plastic and agriculture wastes are repurposed and utilized through innovative transformation into a biodegradable composite material.