Do you know what sustainability is?: Know its true meaning

We may be in one of the times with the greatest environmental pollution. But, it is also one in which movements have appeared whose objective is the preservation of the environment. And it is that we are against the clock, the planet does not have unlimited resources, and uncontrolled consumption threatens to end those that exist.

The more the world population grows, the more resources are needed for its subsistence; the problem is how to produce them without finishing them on the way. Here the practice of sustainability is key, today we will talk about its true meaning and how to achieve it.

What is sustainability?

Sustainability consists of the conscious, controlled, rational and responsible use of environmental resources; so that these do not run out or so as not to end their renewal capacity. The main objective of sustainability is not to run out of resources so that they can be used by future generations. Achieve a state of balance between the environment and the needs of society. Where it is possible to satisfy the population without irremediably damaging nature in doing so.

According to Engineer Arturo M Calvente, from the Inter-American Open University, in his study “The modern concept of sustainability”, sustainability is:

“Sustainability is the ability to achieve sustained economic prosperity over time while protecting the planet’s natural systems and providing a high quality of life for people.”

What is the origin of sustainability?

The concept of sustainability is relatively new. It was used for the first time in the year 1987; during the World Commission on Environment and Development of the United Nations. Where a study called “Our common future” was published, in Spanish “Our common future”. This concept continued to develop, and in 1992 the meaning we know today was adopted. This the Rio de Janeiro, in the middle of a United Nations Conference on the environment and development.

During this meeting several basic principles of sustainability, which started a world program of the United Nations; which is known as Agenda 21. These principles were what constituted the modern concept of sustainability. In the first report in which this term was referred to, it was given the following meaning:

“Sustainable development refers to the capacity that the human system has developed to meet the needs of current generations without compromising the resources and opportunities for the growth and development of future generations.”

Since its origin, sustainability has been given different meanings, none very far from the other. And this, because even though they may have different approaches, be it ecological or economic; they are related, they all seek a balance between society and natural resources.

environmental sustainability

Environmental sustainability refers to the responsible use of natural resources by society. It is the balance that exists between obtaining sustenance from the environment and not damaging it with these practices. The main objective of sustainability is to preserve resources so that they can be used by future generations. Knowing that these are not unlimited, and that the irresponsible use of them will have devastating consequences on human life.

In environmental sustainability, it is based on the full knowledge that the subsistence of current and future society depends on our interaction with natural resources. But, it also maintains that the survival of the human being depends on the preservation of a healthy environment.

As we already mentioned, the concept of environmental sustainability as we know it today; was born from the creation of 26 basic principles during a conference on the environment. In these principles, it was established that sustainability was key for today’s society, as it did not end with the natural resources that future society will use. And they have been consistently ratified by the United Nations; they are also present in the 2030 Agenda.

The goal of the UN has been clear since that first convention where the concept of sustainability was raised for the first time: Achieving economic and social development without neglecting the needs of the environment. In the list of objectives of the organization’s agenda is to encourage society to responsible consumption; and combating climate change.

Sustainability or Sustainability?

For years there has been a doubt regarding two words: Sustainability and Sustainability. The question is do they mean the same thing? This doubt arose from the fact that “sustainability” is not found in the Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy. And because it is used only in Latin America. The truth is that both terms are the same, sustainability refers to sustainable quality.

Although sustainability is not used within the word, the word has been gaining popularity among Spanish-speakers in Latin America. And the only difference that exists between the two terms, sustainability and sustainability; is that one is one is used in America, while the other is common in Spain. Although both mean the same thing, a balance between society, its needs and the preservation of the environment for future generations.

Sustainable development

The term sustainable development was used for the first time in 1987, in a study during the same United Nations convention where sustainability was plated. This study also known as the Brundtland Report, named after the Prime Minister of Norway, Gro Harlem Broundtland. Sustainable development was defined as: The search for balance between society, economic development and natural resources; without endangering the welfare and durability of the ecosystem and the species that inhabit it.

Since its inception, the principles of sustainable development and sustainability have been added to the objectives of the United Nations. Sustainable development has different types, which share an essence (protecting the environment), but are divided by different pillars, economic, social and environmental.

The objective of the first of these types of sustainable development, economic sustainability, is to encourage the development of the economy without overloading and harming nature. In social sustainability, the main objective is to educate the population regarding the importance of the environment and guide them towards a more sustainable lifestyle. While in environmental sustainability it focuses on the conservation of the ecosystem and the species that inhabit it. Safeguarding natural resources so that production activities do not damage or destroy them.

Currently, sustainable development is being applied through the application of projects with varied objectives such as: achieving greater energy savings, implementing more use of renewable energy; also create spaces for sustainable production that meet the needs of the population. In the same way, projects such as urban agriculture have appeared, whose objective is to achieve a more sustainable diet.

sustainable tourism

The key to achieving sustainable development is to apply the principles of sustainability to all human activities. This means that what is sustainable or sustainability is present in the economic, social and environmental spheres. And this is just what he does. sustainable tourism, also known as sustainable tourism. It is a type of tourism that takes into account both the well-being of the environment and the fun of tourists.

Sustainable tourism seeks to minimize or eradicate the negative impact of recreational activities on the environment. At the same time that it promotes and educates regarding the benefits of its practice, it satisfies the wishes of the tourist. All this while maintaining income for the companies involved in or related to tourist activities.

Within sustainable tourism, the communities, spaces and culture of tourist places are respected. And natural resources are preserved, as well as biodiversity. The main risk of this practice is its profitability, but the task is not impossible. Despite all the challenges it represents, this type of tourism with principles of sustainability is gaining more and more strength within society.

Sustainable energy

There are multiple human practices that considerably or massively damage the environment. One of these is the production or generation of non-renewable energy, which bears this name because its source is or is obtained from exhaustible natural resources; or that is obtained from polluting or high-cost processes. In contrast, there is another type, renewable energy, which, unlike the first, is obtained from infinite or renewable natural sources.

Some renewable energy sources They are the air, the sun, the rain and the water of rivers, seas or oceans. The energy obtained from the first source is known as wind power, which is one of the best known. The one produced by the sun is known as solar. The others are the following:

  • Blue energy: Obtained from the masses of fresh or salt water.
  • Geothermal: Obtained from the heat of the earth.
  • Hydraulic or hydroelectric energy: It is produced from the kinetic or potential energies of water currents, tides or waterfalls.
  • Tidal: Obtained from the tides of fresh or salt water.

Although all sustainable energy is renewable, not all types of renewable energy are sustainable. Renewable energy is divided into two, the clean ones, which are the ones we have already named, and the polluting ones. Which are obtained from biomass. What determines whether they are sustainable is not only whether they are renewable, but also their production processes. Which are often harmful to the ecosystem.

Did you find this information about sustainability interesting? Do you think that sustainability is necessary for the preservation of the environment? Let us know what you think.