Is the capacity to endure, or in other words, remain in existence. It is complex however very simple. It’s about common sense and managing what we have and use. Its also about the quality of life itself.
Some folks think of gloom and doom when they hear the “S” word used.
Well, we live in a modern world. We have easy access for food, energy and waste services. You buy stuff at the store and consume. All that packaging goes into the trash, picked up and goes somewhere. The food scrap goes down the disposal or trash. You turn on your lights and power comes from somewhere. So what’s the big deal?
I really didn’t have a true concept of sustainability for years. On business, I go to Japan from time to time and it was there that it clicked. Japan is the size of California and has approximately 127 million people, about 336 people per square kilometer. Just for reference, California has approximately 38 million folks. However the quality of life is rich. Its easy to get around, the people are nice and they have great food. Also, the practice of sustainability is integrated in everyday life.
Starting with energy, power is expensive in Japan. As an example, your hotel key powers your room. When I leave the room, it powers down. At lunch the lights go out in the office. Air conditions are only used in rooms, which are occupied. The list goes on. Using power when you only need it is common.
Everything is recycled. It’s hard to find a trashcan that isn’t waste specific. I am not sure where to throw out my gum?
The diet in Japan is rich in vegetables, which are mostly grown local and are seasonal. Even food scrap is segregated to go to organic waste management. They adopted these practices years ago in order to simply endure and it the basic way of thinking.
In the US we also have adopted waste management practices to certain degrees in different communities. We also have lots of land, cheap energy and resources. However, why not continue to keep these conditions by increasing our practices of sustainability. It really about being smart with the resources we have. But what impacts us the most is the economics.
It's the personal impact, which sometimes stimulates us. Simply by small practices of sustainability you can keep more money in your pocket book. It is as easy as turning off lights, using more efficient lighting, buying things in bulk or by growing your own vegetables.
Sustainability is also about your health and state of mind. Multiple studies have stated that the average US worker is stressed out and over worked. Wake up in the morning, go to work with no breakfast, eat fast food for lunch, stay late at work and eat frozen processed food for dinner.
Imagine planting a small garden in your back yard or just a planter of herbs on your apartment balcony. Enjoy the satisfaction of seeing plants grow and harvested for a homemade salad. Simply putting in more efficient light bulbs and cutting off lights when they are not needed are steps in cutting back the utility bill. Scale it up and get some chicks and watch them grow. Have fresh eggs daily knowing that there are no chemicals in your chicks diet. Mulch those leaves and throw into a compose pile. I am lazy and I think that it is much easier than using expensive bags to throw into the landfill. Participate in local recycling programs. Buy products with less packaging and save money. Shop for more locally grown foods.
So stop, chill out, breathe, and have fun practicing sustainability.