Sustainability issues have become a buzzword with far-reaching implications.
In times of drought and adversity, the rift between environmentalism and politics tightens, which makes understanding how sustainability issues affect us and others critical. The word triggers a wide variety of responses based on peoples perceptions and past experiences. So, how can one use it to improve the sustainability of our regional communities their businesses and of course the people who live there?
To think of sustainability as an exclusively economic or environmental concept is understandable, considering its frequent use by politicians and the media. Indeed, these are a requirement for a better future. However, there are other ways to make an extraordinary impact.
Sustainability issues permeate our daily lives, our health and well-being and our relationships and social life. Are robots coming for our jobs and threatening our communities and our way of life, or will they add to our sustainability?
So many of us are waiting for the exact right time to stabilise our way of life, waiting for the stars to align before we make a move towards sustainability. The truth is, there is only today and what you make of it. We all have to learn to take action when you don’t want to do while moving out of our comfort zones.
Working better together
If you’re looking for words of wisdom, you’ll find them in everyone you meet. Your challenge is choosing which words to follow. There are always more efficient ways to operate, so search for them.
A key aspect of Australia’s response to climate change should be the development of our water resources. We have significant land resources which could be used to grow food, fibre and livestock.
Plants sequester carbon, and they also produce commercially valuable crops. The missing ingredient is water, and the missing part is long-term-thinking of the politicians we elect. When will the politicians and bureaucrats start working with us for better outcomes?
When we are so busy doing ‘stuff’, we often forget the power of collaborating and outsourcing to improve our sustainability. All too often, people do things and spend too much when they don’t have to. Just the waste in governments would drought-proof Australia.
A long-term drought-proofing plan is needed. It should be to work together and develop our water resources in multiple locations over the coming years. We should not be leaving our future to ineffective politicians and bureaucrats.
Sustainability has many parts.
Each part must meet high standards for a community, or organisation to be considered sustainable; economic, social and the environment. These three interlocking components must work in tandem to minimise negative impact and create better outcomes for everyone.
Consider any system and examine its operations. How many physical resources does it use to function? Is it spending more than it makes? Are the people happy and working efficiently, or are they under excessive stress. The answers to these sort of questions point us toward sustainable outcomes.
In bringing about sustainability from the current reality, a vision and objectives for a better future are critical. It is the essential core of creativity and critical thinking and the foundation for innovation and sustainable thought processes.
Economic reality is what makes resources available to improve sustainability. It’s an ideological oversight to pander to minority action groups while the silent majority struggle to survive during drought and adversity. Each of the elements should have equal importance, as effectiveness begins to crumble the second people begin to value one component over another.
Social reality is often overlooked and undervalued.
Encouraging and maintaining respectful and supportive social structures is of paramount importance. If we don’t uplift those responsible for sustainability and progress, it will eventually go into decline from lack of care. Profits should never be the bottom line. However, we need better economic management by all levels of government. Better decisions are required to control waste and resources allocation.
No decision should ever be taken in isolation because every choice has consequences. If we don’t let anyone outrank the other, we’ll be on track toward a sustainable future.
If we continue to pollutes the environment, the pollution will eventually build up, kill life, and destroy our resources we depend on to survive. Deeper consideration needs to be given to waste. For instance, where are we going to dispose of windmills and solar panels after their use-by-date?
We can’t just maintain the status quo when it comes to sustainability issues.
By replacing resources we have taken away, we can offset any adverse effect. However, we need to be careful we do not just maintain the status quo. Sustainable timber companies, for example, cut down trees every day; but they plant even more trees to offset their overall footprint, resulting in a net positive tree count. The businesses which aren’t directly using our natural resources can donate funds to related organisations who contribute to the stewardship of our planet, thereby reducing their impact overall.
If an organisation creates and advertises a critical green initiative in the spirit of Corporate Social Responsibility without changing or acknowledging the vast majority of its environmentally degrading practices and products, outcomes will be maintained.
Every single business, organisation and community has room for continuous improvement. Stakeholders should always be looking for ways to improve their standards and increasing their sustainability.
Examine a business’ operations to see what changes you can make to increase its economic value, improve social outcomes and lower its environmental impact. Often, these changes directly or indirectly result in more significant profits.
Sustainability issues call for action orientated
Why not start with some auditing of the economic, social and environmental aspects of the technology, systems and processes used. Perhaps a ‘Business or Community Health Check’ will reveal the weaknesses are going forward to sustainability.
You can learn everything there is to know and throw as much money as you like at sustainability, but if you’re not in alignment with your vision and objectives don’t expect to have much impact.
Don’t let yourself become trapped in your comfort zone with the fear and the struggles when a focus on alignment and action orientation will make all the difference. Perhaps its time to take a systematic approach to your daily activity schedule and bring about the sustainability you want an need.
“Care about what other people think, and you will always be their prisoner”. Leo Tzu
‘So, you want sustainability, well, find where resources are being squandered unnecessarily and make some changes”. Peter sergeant