Environmental sustainability is a broad term that everyone loves to throw around when they’re talking about how green their companies are or how much they recycle. You can even go to college and get a degree on the subject, as more and more schools are offering sustainability-based degree programs.

What does environmental sustainability really mean and what should you know about the subject?

What Is Environmental Sustainability?

Environmental sustainability is designed to help us find new ways to conserve natural resources, both renewable and non-renewable, as well as find alternative power sources.  As an added bonus, these techniques will reduce pollution and the overall harm that we do to the environment.

These are not short-sighted projects designed to implement small changes over the next few years. Instead, these projects are crafted to create a fully sustainable, far-reaching plan that will stretch over the next 50, 100 or 1,000 years.

These great overarching projects may seem a bit intimidating to the average person. Many of us have enough trouble just separating out our recyclables, let alone discovering new and renewable sources of energy!

What Should Everyone Know About Environmental Sustainability?

You don’t need a degree in sustainability to contribute to the changes that need to be made to make sure that our planet will be livable for generations to come. All you really need to know is one thing: Environmental Sustainability is not a choice.

Sure, right now you may be able to choose between recycling or not recycling, using LED or CLF light bulbs or between driving an SUV, a hybrid or a fully electric car.

Eventually, though, if you choose to rely on unsustainable products or practices, you may find it harder and harder to get replacement items or parts as more and more companies change to a more sustainable business model.

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What Can I Do?

What changes can you make in your everyday life that will help you transition to a more sustainable lifestyle? Consider things like:

  • Recycling — If your city offers a recycling program along with their normal garbage services, take advantage of it! Some cities still ask that you separate your recyclables, but cities offer an all-in-one recycling bin that allows you to simply put all of your recyclables in one bin to be sorted later.
  • Growing Your Own Vegetables — Growing your own food is a great way to reduce your grocery bill, make sure that you’re getting organic fruits and vegetables in your diet and even reduce your overall waste output since you can compost organic waste and use it to feed the plants!
  • Look Into Sustainable Energy Alternatives — If you live in a sunny climate and own your home, consider having some solar panels installed on the roof. Not only will you save on your utility bills, lowering your reliance on the city or state power grid, but many states offer tax incentives for installing solar panels on your home.
  • Take Public Transportation — With the growing popularity of apps like Uber and Lyft, using public transportation doesn’t necessarily mean taking the city bus anymore. You can carpool with strangers, save money on fuel and maintenance costs for your own car and lower your carbon footprint all in one gesture.

These small steps can create an enormous impact if we can get enough people to just start thinking sustainably. It doesn’t take much to start turning your current home and lifestyle into one that helps to promote environmental sustainability and if we can show the big corporations how it’s done, we may be able to change the enormous negative impact that we’ve had on the ecosystem thus far.

Right now, sustainability is a choice, but it won’t remain so for long.  Why not take a few easy steps now?