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What is Environmental Sustainability?

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

Let’s begin with the basics. What is environmental sustainability?


Environmental Sustainability is one of the 3 pillars of sustainability. Given many of us often only think of the environment in terms of sustainability, we figured environmental sustainability was a good place to begin when explaining the environment's role in sustainability.


Environmental sustainability is defined as the responsible interaction with the environment to avoid depletion or degradation of natural resources and allow for long-term environmental quality. Environmental sustainability helps to ensure we are meeting the needs of today, without jeopardizing the needs of future generations.


What areas can we focus on in environmental sustainability?


Environmental sustainability can be applied in many different ways. The key ways include:


Sustainable Agriculture: This is the use of farming techniques that protect the environment. This has come from societies growing concern over the impacts of industrial agriculture not only on the land but also on the plants, animals, and humans it affects.


Sustainable Forestry: This is the practice of regulating forest resources to meet the needs of society and industry while also preserving the forest’s health. Trees are an important source of revitalization for the earth, and also important for economies, so it is essential to find a sustainable way to balance both.


Sustainable Construction: The highest amount of energy consumed each year for domestic purposes includes heating, cooling, and lighting. By building homes and offices that are energy efficient and incorporate renewable resources, we can vastly reduce the environmental impact that energy consumption and construction have on the earth.


Sustainable Waste Management: Waste is an unfortunate byproduct of human consumption and development. However, its damaging effects on the earth can be reduced through proper management and disposal. By creating products that are biodegradable or recyclable it greatly reduces the amount of waste that goes to landfills. Promoting composting in cities is another great way to reduce waste, as organic waste is diverted away from landfills and instead can be converted to manure for gardening or farming.


Sustainable Water Management: Our constant use and disposal of drinkable water is leading to its fast depletion, and often raises the question of how long will we have drinkable water for? It is important we focus on sustainable water management solutions such as installing water-efficient showerheads and using water-efficient farming strategies.


There are many more ways that society can work towards environmental sustainability. There are solutions that we can implement in our everyday lives like taking shorter showers, and solutions that big companies can pursue such as sustainable construction processes.


We can all do our part in the fight against climate change and in pursuit of a more sustainable and equitable world.


If you wish to learn more on this topic feel free to read into the resources we consulted:


https://planningtank.com/sustainable-development/environmental-sustainability-examples

https://study.com/academy/lesson/environmental-sustainability-definition-and-application.html

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/freshwater/freshwater-crisis/

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