Environmental sustainability can touch every aspect of our lives, its such an overarching principle that we couldn’t cover every aspect of it in one blog post. From circular economics, renewable energy, low impact furniture to eco homes and ethical clothing environmental sustainability can be applied to every part of our lives and we’ll go into more detail on each of those areas in separate articles.
Sustainability really dates back to 1987 or at least in the guise we know it as today. Coincidentally my birth year the term sustainable development first appeared in the report ‘Our Common Future’ or Brundtland report as its often referred to for the world commission on environment and development. In it they recognized the links between inequality, environmental degradation and poverty and were plotting a way towards a fairer world with less damage to the environment.
Our Common Future established the concept of sustainable development as the way forward for a fairer society, which looks after its resources.
“Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” ~ Gro Brundtland
What this means is we don’t consume resources beyond which we can replenish for the future generations, environmental sustainability is ensuring that in meeting our requirements for food, water, and shelter and also engaging in activities that make our lives fulfilling and enjoyable (Importantly leisure activities) we don’t deplete resources that we can’t renew or cause irreversible damage to the environment. This balancing of not consuming more than we can replace is the guiding principle of sustainability which we see today.
So how does this principle of sustainability apply to non renewable resources, pollution or even renewable resources?
Non Renewable resources - The use of non renewables should equal the development of renewable substitutes for that resource.
For Pollution the rates of pollution generated from production or other activities should not exceed the capability of the environment to assimilate it.
Renewable resources must not be consumed beyond the rate of regeneration.
if the rate of renewables being harvested, the pollution being emitted non renewables being depleted can not go on indefinitely then they are not sustainable.
Why it is important
Firstly at an unsustainable rate of consumption and environmental degradation we will simply not be able to maintain our quality of life, the diversity of the nature or maintain the earths ecosystems. The rate of extinction is ever increasing and our ability to cause damage and never before seen scales is increasing.
Its expected that there will be nearly 10 Billion of us on our little planet by 2100 all wanting a high standard of living and living longer too! To feed all those mouths and handle all the waste which 10 Billion people would create we must look to what is sustainable. With an ever growing demand for energy most of which through fossil fuels meeting the needs of that population will undoubtedly cause unpredictable environmental havoc, not to mention demand for other essential resources such as water.
As our planet can only produce a limited number of resources and we are getting ever more sophisticated at consuming them we must understand the impact of that consumption on the environment. The biggest cause of environmental degradation is the over consumption of resources at a completely unsustainable rate.
How we can help
This is why sustainableshoppers.co.uk is going to give you the tools and knowledge to choose environmentally sustainable products, our first aim is to reduce consumption and we’ll be bringing you a whole host of ideas on how you can achieve that but we arent promoting being a hermit and cutting yourselves off from consumer culture completely. We enjoy a good shopping spree in the January sales as much as anyone else but with our knowledge built up from making sustainable choices over the last few years we want to help you make the best purchases which have the least impact on the environment. Shopping sustainably is not just about you reducing your impact on the earth but its as much about sending a signal to the manufacturers that we want more sustainable products and less waste.