Why Sustainability Matters

February 05, 2020

Why Sustainability Matters

Sustainability. It’s one single word that matters more than you may realize. That’s because there are many things on this planet that have finite reserves. Some items are ones that can never be replaced or remade once those reserves are depleted. Others take long periods of time to replace, restore, or replenish—many of them longer than the average lifetime.

What is Sustainability?

Sustainability is a concept that attempts to use only those things that can be replenished. Easily and quickly. The primary goal of people who embrace sustainable lifestyles is to protect the planet and its limited resources, so that future generations can enjoy some of the same treasures and bounties we take for granted today. This includes things like:

  • Fresh air to breathe
  • Seas and lakes that are safe places for our children to swim
  • Fish and fowl that are consumable and nourishing
  • Plants that are safe to eat
  • Animals abundant in beauty and supply to awe and inspire

Sustainability today is important to secure these things for tomorrow, and to avoid some of the apocalyptic scenarios film and fiction have described for humanity’s future.

The Challenge When Promoting Sustainability

Not everyone can fully visualize what the future holds, if we don’t change the way we, as a society, operate today. Some do not believe what science is telling them, and others are more focused on the here and now, and care little for possible futures they aren’t likely to be part of. It’s hard to change minds and hearts when it’s all so far into the future for them.

The challenge is to force people to see what’s happening now, around the world, that shows how important sustainability is to them today, like the toxic air in New Delhi, reported about in USA Today, that casts a haze that can be seen from space. These types of stories are going to dominate the airwaves over the next few years, unless massive changes in society begin now.

If not, our children and grandchildren may grow up in entirely different, desolate worlds where humanity is fueled by hunger, the skies and seas are toxic, and wars are fought over farmable land and breathable air. That is why sustainability matters so much today.

What you might not realize, though, is that you don’t need to wait for your neighbors to get on board to start making sustainability a way of life for you and your family. Now that you understand why sustainability is so important, even today, and not just in an impossible to recognize future, the real question is this: “What can you do to live a more sustainable lifestyle?”

Why We Can’t Wait on Governments to Act

You hear a lot of talk in Washington and in the media about the Green New Deal, and all the wonderful things it can do for the planet. The problem is, there are also people against it. Without a consensus on both sides of the aisle, this type of legislation is unlikely to pass.

Furthermore, there are many who would argue that it’s too little, too late. The United States is one country. One that accounts for less than five percent of the world’s population, and already has some of the cleanest air in the world, according to the World Health Organization — especially when compared to some of the world’s largest offenders, such as India, China, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt, Niger, and nearby countries.

Governments in these countries, countries with the worst pollution problems on the planet, may not be interested in cleaning the air and preserving resources. Waiting on their governments to act can take much more time than we have to manage the problem.

That means we have to take it upon ourselves to make small changes, daily, to reduce our dependence on things that aren’t sustainable, and to conduct business with (and spread the word about) businesses that make sustainability a priority.

What We Can Do About Sustainability

It is true that you can’t be your brother’s keeper, and waiting for the government to act can take too long, and waste precious time. But, making your own personal changes for a more sustainable life, and doing businesses with companies that share your dedication to the future of the planet, is an important step in the right direction. The more people who follow their convictions in these matters, the better it is for the planet.

These are some of the things you can do to promote sustainability in your home, your family, and your community:

  • Reduce waste. While zero waste is an admirable goal, reducing it as much as possible in today’s society can help.
  • Reuse and upcycle. Find new ways to give things in your life new life, once its usefulness to you is gone. This includes donating clothing to homeless shelters or charities that can resale them to fund other initiatives, hosting garage sales, so that others can buy them and give them new life or re-selling these items on websites like eBay. When it comes to children’s clothing, toys, furniture, etc., consider passing them on to needy neighbors, family members with younger children, etc. The idea is to give them new life by getting them into the hands of someone who might find them useful. The same can be done with furniture, appliances, and more.
  • Buy items made with sustainable practices. It doesn’t take much effort to find companies that work with sustainable practices when making their items. One thing you can do is look for companies that build products that are made with natural, sustainable ingredients, have long warranties, and have independent certifications to back up claims of organic materials in the making of their products. Claims alone are not enough. The proof is in certifications from trusted organizations.

The greater the demand for sustainability from manufacturers around the world, the faster change takes place – without waiting on government intervention and regulation to make it happen. The wallet remains the greatest influence to bring companies across the globe to changes like sustainability. By making simple changes in the way you do business, you can bring businesses to change the way they do business.

For now, working with organizations like Eco Terra, who makes 100 percent natural latex mattresses with sustainable, transparent practices, is a fantastic first step in the right direction for consumers.

Patrick Gunther

Patrick is an accomplished writer. He has been in the retail mattress space for the past 13 years, and more specifically in the natural mattress niche. He blogs on the subjects of natural mattresses, sleep, health, fitness, and green living.