Sustainability is multi-faceted concept that has implications on every aspect of our lives. The basic definition is “the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.” This can refer to environmental sustainability, which is the most common use in popular parlance, but it can also refer to economic sustainability, and social sustainability. To be sustainable is to accept change, but to maintain a balanced existence. If we consider our world as resting on a stool supported by the pillars of environment, economics, and society you can see that we cannot impact one of the pillars without repercussions being felt in the other two. The earth is currently not operating in a sustainable fashion. Industries pollute the air and water, people are irresponsible with their trash, which ends up in the oceans, companies are focused on ever increasing profits to the extend that they cut staff, benefits for staff, environmental programs and any other ‘extra’ expenditure to maximize profits at the expense of the workplace culture. Conversely, attempts to raise the pillars of social and environmental issues will have negative repercussions on the economy. We need balance.
If you have been following my blog you may have noticed the tagline: Going Green Doesn’t Have to be a Sacrifice. I believe that we have a responsibility to try and leave the planet a better place than when we arrived. I am very concerned that our current rates of consumption globally is unsustainable. For me, one of the most unsustainable products today is the dizzying array of plastics. The extraction of the crude oil to make plastics produces some of the worst rates of GHG emissions among industries. Plastics do not break down in the environment, meaning that they keep polluting for decades to hundreds of years, depending on the product. And to top it off, many of the plastics used is made for product packaging – not even an item in and of itself. Am I suggesting that we eliminate all plastics? No! The medical industry is very dependent on plastic products and to go back to using only metals and glass will come at the expense of patient comfort and a lot of added labor. The plastics used in car manufacturing allow the cars to be lighter weight, and hence more fuel efficient. I WOULD like to see the elimination of single-use plastic products of all types (straws, packaging, bottles, etc) and be replaced with items that are meant to be re-usable.
I read a great passage a few weeks ago. I wish I had saved it somewhere because I cannot recall the source, and have not been able to find it again. The passage stated that we do not need 1,000 people to be perfectly sustainable. We need 10 million people to do an OK job at it. This really resonated with me. I started to take stock of my own life and prioritize areas that I can make great improvements without it being too drastic of a shift. The products I provide through Treasures By Sandra are not meant to be the most eco-friendly versions of that product. They are meant to be sustainable. By this I mean that my raw materials are organic and fair trade as much as possible, I buy from local suppliers whenever I can, the packaging I use is meant to be re-usable and/or biodegradable, and they are good quality items that are effective. Over the next few weeks I will be posting on the individual products, what goes into making them, how I choose my raw materials, and why I consider the product to be sustainable.
What efforts do you make to be sustainable? Do you feel that sustainability is important in the home? Let me know in the comments!