This is a complex concept. However, the most accurate definition comes from the UN World Commission on Environment and Development, it reads:
“Sustainable development is the one that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
In the United States of America, the UCLA Sustainability Committee defines it as:
“The physical development and institutional operating practices that meet the needs of present users without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, particularly concerning use and waste of natural resources.”
Sustainable practices are the ones that support ecological, human and economic health and vitality. Those that never forget that when we talk about sustainability and even when these definitions are not considering it specifically, sustainability refers or must refer to the health and wellbeing of all living beings on the planet.
One Missing Detail
Let me give you one single reason, no more is needed:
“We living beings, are interconnected and need each other to survive. Without the other living beings we, humans, also die.”
With this said, let’s rephrase…
“Sustainable practices support ecological “living beings,” and economic health and vitality. Sustainability presumes that resources are finite, and should be used conservatively and wisely with a view onto long term priorities–here I would add, with respect for other living beings–and aware of the consequences of how they are used.”
Saying it short and simple, we have children and even grandchildren. I ask: How is the world you, me, and everyone are going to give them?
Despite All Reports, Let’s Face the Facts the Way They Are
There are hundreds of definitions, studies, and reports; thousands of biologists, and scientists. Still we humans need to face the facts.
Hey human… Yes, you the one who loves coal and oil.
I see you playing with your grandchildren, so you know what? When you have burned all the oxygen with your oil, what is it that your grandchildren are going to eat. Oil? Coal? Or even worse. If oil and coal made you wealthy, are you going to feed them with one hundred bills?
You, the one who kicks the cat or the puppy on your path, when you do this, you are disrespecting yourself!
You the one who loves plastic bags and wants to get more and more free at the supermarket, you are committing suicide.
You who allow your children to bully others and kick the wastebasket on the street, you are killing your children.
So, people… How does it feel?
Money, anger, and plastic bags mean nothing when you don’t have air to breathe, and food to eat.
Humans Need to Start Accepting Reality
We all need of each other, we humans are not better than lions, dogs, spiders, crocodiles or bees. We are all made of the same material; we all have equal rights to have clean air, water, and food.
We need to become sustainable societies. The fact is that all the other living beings already have sustainable communities. We humans are the only ones in need to learn.
So, What Is a Sustainable Society?
It is the one with equal access to health care, nutrition, clean air and water, shelter, education, clean energy, opportunities, and employment. I am not talking about socialism; let’s make it clear. I am talking about a society where entrepreneurs make money and are wealthy but by giving others the same opportunities and without harming the environment.
We, humans, are intelligent; we have lots of resources. Then how comes we are so attached to so many old, yet toxic things?
Let’s see only a couple of examples.
Books: We all need books, schools need books, but hey! We also have eBooks, and electronic books don’t harm our environment. We don’t need to kill more trees to continue reading. So, why are some people so attached to this phrase: “Oh! I love the smell of a new book.” I’m sorry to tell you that phrase is nonsense and has no justification.
You have no right to harm my trees!
Plastic bags: Why I still see plastic bags at the supermarkets, while there are recyclable bags? Hey, supermarkets stop giving plastics bags and don’t be greedy. Give a couple of free recyclable bags with your logo to your clients, you will be building loyalty.
Why do I see trash at the beach? Who gave you permission to throw your wastes on my beach?
Yes! It is my beach, my planet, my home. It is yours as well. And I invite you all to start protecting it fiercely if needed.
Supporting Sustainable Businesses
Businesses are facing a new paradigm. Many industries are being asked to create long term practices to be more respectful of the environment. They are also meeting the need to embrace the new technologies and the so-called Digital Transformation.
And, by the way. Do you know what this Digital Transformation is all about?
It is about learning to embrace technology and clean energies as a way to become sustainable and live in a better, yet cleaner world while taking advantage of these latest technologies.
This means the culture of these companies changes; you as an entrepreneur, leader, or employee change, your culture evolves. Businesses do this, and at the same time, they improve profitability, create innovation and increase their market share. I won’t say it’s easy to achieve. However, it’s doable if we all can adopt this same sustainable culture.
Sustainable businesses have proven to be successful. Take a look at Forbes Magazine.
Or continue reading below.
Biogen is the leading developer of therapies for people suffering from neurological, autoimmune, and hematologic diseases. Environmentally, Biogen is a carbon-neutral company meaning that it has effectively neutralized carbon-emitting activities with reduction and offset projects.
With operations around the world, German-based Adidas is the manufacturer of Adidas and Reebok branded sporting equipment. Its general approach to sustainability is to find the balance between shareholder expectations, respecting human rights and the needs of its employees.
Based in Germany and with operations around the globe, BMW strives to build social engagement into the entire corporation including products and processes. Its sustainability efforts start in the manufacturing line as BMW continually seeks to reduce the emissions of the vehicles it produces and offer electric and hybrid choices for its customers.
What to Do?
This seems to be easy to answer, but it is not. First of all, we all need to own it, own the Earth as our planet, our home, and our responsibility.
Same as these companies Digital Transformation as one of the many tools available to help taking care of our home, our planet Earth. We also can do it as individuals. We may start appreciating our planet and those who share it with us:
- Respect all living things, ALL OF THEM! They have exactly the same right to live as you, help them if you have a chance.
- Support sustainable companies over those who are not sustainable. Become a conscious consumer.
- Avoid using those elements you know are harming our home Earth… Plastic bags are out of the conversation, never again, please!
- Try by all means to use clean energy sources. Avoid oil, coal, regular gasoline if possible. Try using your bike instead of your car whenever it’s possible.
- Recycle, separate the trash, don’t allow ANYONE to throw wastes on our Planet Earth, which is literally an extension of your back yard.
And please, read a lot, but read eBooks!
Make #EarthDay a daily tradition of the world, make it a habit, and then enjoy yourself playing with your children and grandchildren on the green grass, and under the bright sun. Enjoy the beach, the lake, the river. Enjoy life! Own your planet, our Planet Earth.
Marketing Consultant & Author
I am a Marketing Consultant and 23 years entrepreneur; a published fiction author, the ghostwriter of hundreds of business articles signed by C-Level executives in the IT industry, and web developer because I love it.
I founded Magic Masterminds, a sustainable e-publishing company focused on eBooks and, using the latest technology to provide education and entertainment.
I am a dreamer, also a pragmatic planner and leader. My purpose is