Sustainability is something that you can start accomplishing today. It is a worth-while goal which will produce benefits for you and those around you. These benefits will be like ripples on a pond that move outward and help more and more people. The benefits of sustainability will impact the entire planet as others join in.
Sustainability is measured in three ways. The three pillars of sustainability are social, economic and environment. An action or activity is sustainable if it provides benefits in each of these three areas. Things that provide benefits in two of the areas are good, but to be sustainable the action needs to have a positive impact on all three pillars.
Everyone can do things that are sustainable by changing their behavior. These changes can start small and build to bigger things. An example of a small behavior is volunteering to at an organization like Second Harvest or other local food bank. These organizations positively impact the social structure when individuals use their time and energy to help others. It builds a connection between two people who were not connected before. Volunteering at a food bank helps the environment because food that would otherwise end up in a land fill now feeds someone. That food helps nourish a person who would be hungry if it had not found its way to their plate. This volunteer work helps the economy because a child who has proper nutrition is healthier. They do better at school and learn more.
This example demonstrates how a sustainable activity produces more sustainable activities. The person who volunteers at a food bank learns that it is great experience and volunteers again, maybe bringing someone else with them the second time. Less food going into landfills means that we need fewer landfills. Landfill areas can be used for other purposes, such as wildlife areas or public parks. Giving kids proper nutrition has great long term benefits because they grow up to be productive members of society. They have the ability to help others instead of needing help themselves.
There are large steps some people can take to promote sustainability. Probably the largest step is to begin living off the grid. At a minimum, this means living without a connection to a commercial supply of electricity. This involves learning and planning, and there are resources on the internet that can show how it can be done.
Living without electricity is sustainable because it has a positive impact on each of the three pillars. It helps society because it shows others that it can be done. It helps the economy because as you use less electricity the price goes down, making it more affordable for other people still on the grid. And it helps the environment because it means less energy needs to be produced. The production of energy is the biggest source of greenhouse gasses in the economy today.
Take the biggest step you can toward sustainability today. You will be surprised at the benefits it produces.
Originally published at medium.com