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What is Sustainability?

By Wendy, Benalla Sustainable Future Group Inc.

Often the question is asked, but the answers don’t come easily. It is complex. In today’s world we are increasingly being asked to consider the long-term consequences of the lives we choose to live. The ‘needs’ we think we have today require more and more use of our natural resources. 

We rarely think about the connection between our essential mobile phones, our television, food and our energy and water requirements and the natural environment. Everything we need comes from our environment, but how will our environment look when so much is depleted or changed beyond recognition? 

There are many ways of thinking about what sustainability means for each of us, but the concept is based on a simple principle: That everything we need for survival and well-being is directly or indirectly dependent on our natural environment. 

There have been unintended social, environmental and economic consequences of rapid growth and consumption. We need to aim to reverse these consequences and create a future where the next generation of Australians will not be worse off than ours.

Drawing on scientific and technological advances we need to better manage for our future. Pursuing sustainability will help ensure we don’t over use or destroy the water, materials, and resources we need to maintain human health and our environment.

What can you do? We all have responsibility for sustainability. The collective decisions we make over the next few years will contribute to the type of future that the next generation inherits from us.

What action can you take?  Six simple points:

•  Reduce energy consumption and generate energy;

• Think before you buy. Question the need for, and the source of a product and the consequences of obtaining the product – eg palm oil, destroying millions of hectares of rainforest and wiping out orangutans;

• Buy local, in season food – think about the miles food travels and the oil used to transport it; think about the pesticides and fertilizer needed for large scale  production; think about the living conditions of ‘farmed’ animals;

• Be water wise;

• Plant local species in your garden to make up food source for birds and animals that have lost their habitat and food supply

• Join a local environment action group and ask them to assist you with your cause.

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