When Everything Was Sustainable
Once upon a time, everything was sustainable
Long ago, long before man came into existence, there was no concern about waste, pollution, or environmental degradation. Everything that nature created was used and re-used. Nothing was thrown away. Everything was sustainable. Nature used what it needed without compromising the existence of future generations. For millions of years this system helped our planet thrive.
250 Years Ago
About 250 years ago, humans moved into large cities and the industrial revolution began.
This revolution changed the way products were made, and created a lot of waste.
- Factories burned fossil fuels.
- They released toxins into the air.
- They dumped waste into the rivers and waterways.
- They dumped waste into huge pits and covered it without any consideration or knowledge of what this waste would or could do to our water, land, air and our planet.
- This linear economy of take, make, and throw away became the norm.
An Essay on the Principle of Population
As far back at 1798, people were pondering where this industrialization would lead. In 1798, Thomas Malthus published his “An Essay on the Principle of Population” stating that “population tends to grow quicker than resources.”
Would our planet have the carrying capacity (the number of people, organisms, or crops a specific area can support without environmental degradation) to sustain the population growth?
Our Common Future
In 1969 a group of African nations published a work using the words “sustainable development”.
However, it was only about 30 years ago, in 1987, that the concept of “sustainable development” as we understand it today, was introduced by the Brundtland Report, also entitled ‘Our Common Future’, a report produced by several countries for the UN.
Sustainable Existence: the present does not compromise the existence of future generations
Today we are faced with challenges that will affect the future of all living creatures and our planet. A sustainable existence is one in which the present does not compromise the existence of future generations.
To create a solid future, we must work together to change behavior and create a holistic mindset that recognizes how our lives, our communities, and our planet are interconnected.
COP21 brought nations together from across the globe focusing on climate change. Progressive companies are searching for ways to integrate sustainability throughout their organizations and engage their employees with these initiatives.
But it is only through passionate leadership that we will be able to make the shift. From presidents, to CEOs, to senior management, to teachers and parents we are the leaders who must drive these initiatives.
We must encourage everyone to think responsibly in their lives, in their communities and at work. Through passionate leadership we will be able to meet these challenges and save our planet for future generations.
It is our hope that we will all become better stewards of ourselves, our families and our earth. Together we can build a sustainable future.
“There is still a window of time. Nature can win if we give her a chance.”
Dr. Jane Goodall.