Get my meaning?
It’s a hot word “Sustainability”, it appears to be on the lips of lots more people than it used to, or maybe I am paying attention to it more. It’s funny like that isn’t it – how you hone in on a subject when you are immersed in it and then it appears to be everywhere. I am currently undertaking 2 courses, one in Sustainable Living with the University of Tasmania and one with AICD to get my Company Directors accreditation. Both discuss Sustainability and both mention the UN’s sustainable development goals, which by the way are really very important and I implore you to look at them.
The content in these two courses got me thinking about the word “sustainability” and what it actually means and how that translates into our commercial world.
To sustain literally means to strengthen or support, or as twisted as the English language is it can also mean to suffer or experience something unpleasant. The word ability means that we possess a skill or are proficient in a specific area.
So sustainability surely means that we need to support and strengthen to help get through the unpleasant experience. The literal meaning of sustainability is the ability to maintain at a certain rate or level, but on an ecological level, it specifically means the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain ecological balance.
Maybe we need to relook at the meaning from a more holistic approach. To sustain and maintain the balance of anything requires support. Support should be the focus of any work on sustainability. One person cannot change the world, but individuals working together towards common goals can.
The one thing I really like about the Sustainability Development Goals is that they are very simply laid out so everyone can understand them, they haven’t been written in science-speak and its refreshing. Literally, anyone can read these and understand what the objective is and how they can help from either an individual, community or business perspective.
As legislation changes to adopt these goals as our collective global mandate, I hope that the boards, group leaders and family members remember that “support” is the key here. It’s about supporting each other to ensure that our children have a world worth living in. If we carry on going the way we are going we will need to look for planet B, C and D (they don’t exist) so we need to understand the importance of “less is more”.
There is a shift happening, COVID helped us see a better way of doing business virtually so we use less fuel (that’s good because at some point the world will run out of oil and therefore fuel) and then our way of life will change, food price will rise, supermarket shelves will be barer and getting hold of your beloved online purchases will be impossible.
Doing these courses and following the white rabbit on certain trails has allowed me to see that my own consumption needs to be curbed. I grow my own veggies (in abundance – so much that I feed my neighbours too) I drive a Hybrid car, we have chickens which give us lots of eggs, we harvest our own water and we have solar power. But is that enough? You know I started to reduce my red meat intake because it takes so much energy to produce red meat, maybe that will reduce my own carbon footprint? I do this because I know that recycling alone won’t cut it.
We need to support each other to be truly sustainable. We have the ability to and we have the desire, we can all see that it makes sense and that it needs to be done. I think a lot of the time it is a financial decision as to whether we do or don’t. If money was not in the way, ask yourself – would you be more sustainable or do you like things the way they are?
See when the world runs out of oil, and getting around is a luxury instead of a god-given right we will see price wars, actual wars and people losing their marbles because things weren’t what they used to be. So maybe a shift is needed to reduce how much fuel we need, fund better ways to make our world move and go back to being more of a village opposed to a global powerhouse that will rapidly become a global shithouse. I certainly don’t want my kids to go to war over oil – do you?
Support – you have the ability
Be more sustainable so we have the right balance for our way of life (the new way of life).