What is Environmental Sustainability? Definition & Examples

Many of us naturally go for walks when we’re feeling stressed or disconnected. To feel more at peace and connected to nature, we look for forests, parks, beaches, and backroads. Given this, it is not surprising that a healthy environment is essential to human well-being. Environmental factors that can be avoided are directly or indirectly responsible for about 24% of all human deaths worldwide. We need and deserve access to clean water to drink, unpolluted air to breathe, and environments free of toxins in order to live long and healthy lives.

We must stop further harm as the world’s population rises and the long-term effects of excessive energy use and industrial expansion become more apparent. It is our responsibility to protect the biodiverse ecosystems of the planet and provide a healthy environment for the next generation. Sustainability in the context of business refers to operating a company in a way that minimizes environmental impact while securing potential for future growth.

What is environmental sustainability?

Environmental sustainability, according to the U.N. Environment Programme, entails making decisions in life that guarantee an equivalent or better standard of living for future generations.

Environmental sustainability aims to enhance human well-being without unduly taxing the planet’s life-sustaining ecosystems. It involves striking a balance between consumerist human culture and the natural world. Living in a way that doesn’t waste or unnecessarily deplete natural resources will help us achieve this.

What makes sustainability crucial?

Given the quantity of resources we use daily, including food, energy, and manufactured goods, environmental sustainability is crucial. Increased farming and manufacturing due to rapid population growth have increased greenhouse gas emissions, unsustainable energy use, and deforestation.

In other words, we require more materials and energy than ever. Despite this, there are a limited number of resources our planet can provide before they run out. Businesses must intervene and take action as a result. They have more influence than any other group of people, and they can contribute to securing a future that is livable by making investments in sustainable and moral behaviors like cutting waste, utilizing clean commercial energy, and paying fair wages.

What are some instances of environmental sustainability?

Environmental sustainability can be achieved in two main ways: by individuals, and by businesses and governments.

As individuals, we can make simple but significant changes to live more sustainably, such as using less water, eating less meat, and using reusable goods instead of single-use plastics.

From a business standpoint, environmental sustainability may entail converting warehouses, factories, and offices to renewable energy sources or reducing the use of single-use plastics during production.

What are the three pillars of sustainability?

Environmental sustainability can provide many advantages in addition to helping the planet and its inhabitants. Development in the economic, social, and environmental spheres is one of the three pillars of sustainability.

Economic sustainability

Businesses and communities are responsible for ensuring economic sustainability. They are urged to use their resources wisely and effectively here. Economic sustainability aims to promote long-term economic growth while preserving the social, cultural, and environmental facets of our global community.

Social sustainability

People gain from social sustainability. Living sustainably results in healthier air and less money being wasted on unnecessary medical expenses for individuals, families, communities, and entire nations. Droughts can be lessened by using renewable energy sources because they require less water and energy to maintain. The ultimate objective of sustainable development is to promote equitable access to healthcare and education while simultaneously reducing hunger and poverty globally.

Environmental sustainability

Environmental sustainability is concerned with the condition of the planet after we leave. It encourages people to lead waste-free lives and even promotes the regeneration of some of the resources we use on a daily basis.

Why is sustainability important?

Environmental sustainability’s overarching objective is to achieve equality. As we have seen, environmental sustainability has a significant positive impact on human health as well as the health of all other species. It lessens our dependence on fossil fuels and other harmful energy practices, as well as our global carbon footprint. 

By promoting healthier living conditions and improved healthcare, sustainability can lengthen life expectancy and narrow the wealth and poverty gap. In order to address the industrial side of waste and pollution, sustainable development promotes more ethical manufacturing and production. Additionally, it encourages businesses, industries, and governments to consider long-term effects before choosing the simplest or least expensive course of action.

What are the issues of environmental sustainability?

Although achieving environmental sustainability may present some challenges, it has clear advantages for both human and animal health on a global scale.

  • The main social obstacles to achieving global sustainable development are exponential population growth and unsustainable production and consumption patterns among the wealthy. Sustainability won’t be possible unless there is a significant shift in human behavior on a global scale. Other social obstacles include low levels of sustainability awareness and education, insufficient dialogue between the government and civil society, and insufficient financial incentives for the private sector to promote sustainable development.
  • Economists have noted that sustainable development prioritizes economic growth over human rights or health. Global environmental sustainability requires a paradigm shift because, currently, we view the environment as an extension of the economy rather than the other way around. Due to this change, the economy will need to change in order to preserve environmental services. It will probably take decades for a shift to start happening because this process is much easier said than done.

In order to achieve environmental sustainability, there may be some challenges, but that does not mean we shouldn’t try our hardest. Although the thought of living sustainably can be intimidating, there are many small adjustments we can make without causing ourselves undue hardship.

What advantages does environmental sustainability offer?

Environmental sustainability has the following advantages:

  • We can safeguard ecosystems.
  • We can preserve endangered species and continue to appreciate nature as it is.
  • Better respiratory health for everyone will result from less city pollution, which could also halt or reverse the effects of global warming.
  • We won’t be building massive landfills around the world that will take centuries to decompose.

How can environmental sustainability be achieved?

Here are some quick tips to lead a more sustainable lifestyle:

  • Reduce your consumption of red meat because it is a major source of food air miles and methane emissions.
  • Change to a green energy utility provider; geothermal, solar, and wind energy are all unlimited resources that will never run out. One of the easiest and most efficient ways to change the world is to switch to a green energy provider.
  • Instead of relying on food in plastic and non-recyclable packaging, prepare your own meals and snacks by baking and cooking them. Another excellent way to use less energy and produce less waste is to cook in batches.
  • Drink from the tap instead of bottled water. Think carefully about whether it’s worth it for the sake of one drink since plastic bottles take 450 years to decompose. Instead, choose a water filter jug for your refrigerator or a reusable water bottle.
  • Reduce your use of your car by walking or cycling more frequently.
  • Change out your incandescent bulbs for more energy-efficient ones.
  • Consume locally to support foods with few air miles. Try to eat foods that haven’t traveled far to get to your plate, in other words.
  • Repurpose, sell, or give away unwanted items. Repurposing could mean reusing glass jars to store dry goods or old clothing or bed sheets as cleaning rags.
  • Use reusable beeswax Eco-wraps in place of saran wrap.
  • Bring your own straw if you don’t want a plastic one with your iced coffee!
  • If you wear makeup, switch to plastic-free cosmetics and washable, reusable makeup wipes.
  • Reduce your use of single-use plastics like produce wrappers, grocery bags, coffee cups, and water bottles. Totes, water bottles, reusable coffee cups, and plastic-free produce can all take the place of these single-use items.
  • Replace paper towels with washable dishcloths.
  • Create your own body scrub at home with coffee grounds, sugar, and a little coconut oil in place of purchasing costly, overly packaged products.
  • Instead of using plastic toothbrushes, invest in a bamboo or electric toothbrush.


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