Sustainable development is a concept that is roughly two decades old, however its percolation into different circles of life is unprecedented. Its infiltration to the most basic ways of life such as buying materials that are biodegradable are some of the hottest topics that are currently driving environmental innovation. For more than twenty five years now, serious questions and debates must be elicited as to whether the conventional path taken by the protagonists of green and sustainable living has really yielded results that can be juxtaposed against unsustainable patterns of life.
In order to grasp the entire fiasco surrounding the discourse on green and sustainable living, we need to look at what anchors sustainability. To start with, sustainable development is a concept that was born in the Rio conference in 1990 after meticulous discussions and research was inquired into the future of environment and society by the Brundtland Commission (Baker, 2006). Being sustainable simply means doing everything at the moment with a mind that the future generations will also need to enjoy and benefit from the resources we extract for our own use today. It is from this concept that the aspect of sustainable and green living creeps in. It means we should live and practice life in a way that will little or in no-way impact the ability of the future generations to enjoy life from similar resources we derive livelihoods from; these resources include air, forests, soil fertility, and water among others.
From the above explanation, we can therefore derive that green living should be a lifestyle that makes an attempt at every juncture in many different ways to bring a balance between preservation and conservation of the earth’s natural resources, biodiversity and habitats (Kunz, 2014). Sustainable living should embrace the reality of life that we are neither separate from, nor unaffected by our environment and that the direction of human race is defined by the direction of the earth’s environment.
Some of the ways that we can practice in order to live sustainably is by understanding the lifecycle of products we consume just like a firm would want to have a firm grip on its value chain. Every other product consumed by human beings is first extracted, then transported, processed, packaged and distributed, consumed and finally disposed of at its end of life. To live sustainably means identifying at which point in the life cycle you will have to play a role. Most consumers start at the consumption phase through to the end of life yet this is what matters most. Before we consume we should endeavor to know what materials were extracted and its transportation as well as packaging. The fundamental question is was the process sustainable? If not we need to drop the product.
Far from the product life cycle, there are everyday practices that propagate sustainable and green living. Avoiding much waste is the first step; think twice before shopping; is what to be bought really necessary? If it’s necessary, how can it be reduced, reused or recycled? These fundamental questions normally exist in a sustainable mind. In the end, green living should ensure that your biggest purchases have the biggest environmental benefits (Global Stewards, 2017). For instance, when buying an automobile, is the automobile green or does it pollute the environment more than any other automobile around?
In conclusion, everyone has a role to play when it comes to sustainable and green living. Green living is more of a conscious effort than one would think. It involves everyday active steps and attempts to ensure that whatever are consumed has passed the sustainability test and whatever are disposed goes through the three Rs (reduce, reuse, or recycle).
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Baker, S. (2006). Sustainable Development (1st ed.). London: Routledge.
Global Stewards (2017). How to Create a Sustainable Lifestyle: Three Essential Steps for Sustainable Living. Retrieved from http://www.globalstewards.org/sustainable-lifestyle.htm
Home City Real Estate (2017). Going Green: A Guide to Eco-Friendly Home Modifications. Retrieved from http://www.homecity.com/going-green-a-guide-to-eco-friendly-home-modifications
Kunz, N. (2014). Positive Steps to Living Green. Science, 345(6194), 258-259. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1256000
Sustainable Baby Steps (2016). The Definition of Green Living (and Green Washing). Retrieved from http://www.sustainablebabysteps.com/definition-of-green-living.html