Sustainability is a topic that’s gaining more and more traction every single day.
With the world facing increasingly dangerous climate conditions, there has never been a more important time for corporations and individuals to take action and implement sustainable practices.
Due to an increasing demand for sustainability, many companies are now integrating sustainable practices into their business models. From LEED-certified buildings to eco-friendly factories, almost every sector of the economy is now adopting some form of sustainability.
But being environmentally friendly doesn’t have to be a struggle. If you’re interested in making the world a better place and saving our planet, there are plenty of ways you can help support the environment.
By learning about some simple, everyday actions that have a big impact on the environment, you can make an impact on our world.
In this article, we’ll be going over everything you need to know about how sustainability can help our environment.
Let’s get started:
1) Preserving air quality
One way that sustainability helps our environment is by preserving and improving air quality.
Air quality refers to the amount of gases and particles present in the air. These can be harmful to humans, particularly those with respiratory conditions, as well as other animals and plants.
Air pollution is a significant environmental issue around the world, especially in large urban areas.
In fact, where I live it’s become so bad that in the winter I have to use an air purifier to clean the air in my apartment from the pollution caused by coal plants and heavy traffic!
Pollution has been linked to an array of health issues such as respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer.
“The ultimate effect of air pollution on public health is to bring about premature death.“ – Air pollution and public health: emerging hazards and improved understanding of risk
Frank J. Kelly and Julia C. Fussell
Air pollution can be caused by both natural and human-made sources. Natural sources include dust, pollen, volcanic eruptions, and forest fires. Human-made sources include the burning of fossil fuels in power plants, vehicles, industry, wood and agricultural waste, and the use of synthetic chemicals.
Air pollution has been on the rise since the 1950s and with it the health issues associated with it.
Converting our energy supply to be more sustainable would go a long way towards reducing air pollution and thus improving air quality.
2) Preserving water quality
Another way that sustainability helps the environment is by preserving water quality.
Water quality refers to how clean and healthy the water is.
It is measured according to the number of substances in the water that can be harmful to humans, animals, and plants.
In recent decades, water quality has deteriorated significantly around the world, particularly in large urban areas. Air pollution and harmful chemicals from industrial processes cause surface water quality to deteriorate.
Widespread pesticide use and fertilizer runoff from farmland also pollute surface water.
Groundwater (water found below the surface of the ground) is another significant source of water contamination. Runoff from farmland, urban development, and industrial sites can pollute groundwater.
To preserve water quality and improve water quantity around the world, steps can be taken to reduce the amount of pollution entering water sources.
These include a reduction in industrial and agricultural chemicals and adopting more sustainable energy sources.
3) Preserving natural landscape
Natural landscapes refer to the types of landscapes that occur naturally, without human intervention. They include both terrestrial and marine ecosystems.
Natural landscapes are hugely important for the health and well-being of humans. They provide many services that are essential for modern life.
“Natural ecosystems such as forests, coral reefs, mangroves and grasslands provide essential goods and services that support human health and food security.” – NCBI
For example, natural ecosystems regulate water flow by mangroves, crop pollination by wild pollinators, and provide natural medicines and wild food.
Unfortunately, many natural ecosystems have been degraded by human activity. This is largely due to deforestation, which destroys large swathes of forest and marine ecosystems.
To preserve natural landscapes and the important services they provide, sustainable forestry practices should be adopted. This will ensure that these ecosystems are managed in a way that preserves their biodiversity and ensures they can continue to provide their essential services.
4) Preserving biodiversity
Finally, sustainability helps preserve biodiversity. Biodiversity refers to the variety of different plant and animal species.
Biodiversity is essential for the health and well-being of humans and our ecosystems. It includes a wide variety of species, from wildflowers and birds, to trees, fish, and primates.
Biodiversity is essential for the regulation of our environment and is critical for maintaining the health of our planet.
Biodiversity can be preserved through a range of different tactics and strategies. This includes the protection of protected areas, such as national parks, and the sustainable management of natural resources.
What can you do?
According to Yale Sustainability, you can preserve biodiversity in the following ways:
- Support local farms: Buy from your local farmer’s market
- Save the bees: plant nectar-producing wildflowers in your garden or build bee boxes
- Plant local flowers, fruits, and vegetables
- Take shorter showers and conserve water
- Respect local habitats
- Know the source of the products you buy
What is environmental sustainability?
Environmental sustainability refers to practices that allow humans to coexist with the environment while minimizing the risk of long-term damage to natural resources.
That might sound like a big, vague term, but it’s actually a pretty simple concept. It’s about making sure that the natural world — the air, the water, the plants, and the animals — stays healthy and is able to sustain life.
Environmental sustainability, then, is more than just protecting the world we live in. It’s about making sure that future generations have the same opportunities that we have.
Most of the damage to the environment has been caused by the combustion of carbon-based fuels and the release of toxic chemicals into the air, water, and soil.
While the use of fossil fuels has been essential for much of the last century, it is now a major contributor to the greenhouse effect (a build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that traps heat from the sun and causes an increase in temperatures around the globe).
Why is environmental sustainability important?
There are many reasons to take care of the environment, but the foremost are that the planet is our only home and we will one day inherit it. Beyond those obvious reasons, though, there are some definite benefits to being environmentally conscious.
- A healthy economy: Countries that have invested in sustainable practices are more likely to experience steady economic growth. Without proper regulation, countries may experience unsustainable growth in which the economy is unsustainable.
- Greater productivity: A healthy environment with clean air, water, and soil will allow producers to create more goods with less effort because they will not be struggling with poor conditions.
- Greater quality of life: While this is related to the above, quality of life is the experience of people in a given place. A livable environment will allow people to live full, happy, healthy lives without being hindered by the environment.
- Creating a sustainable future: This is the most important reason. By making sure that the environment can sustain life for as long as possible, we give future generations the best chance of survival.
So, what can you do?
1) Switch to renewable energy sources
If you’re not familiar with renewable energy, it’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s a type of energy that doesn’t run out and can be used over and over again.
Most of the energy we use in the world today is non-renewable, but there are plenty of renewable energy sources available for us to use instead. Wind, solar, and hydroelectric energy are the three most common types of renewable energy.
There are also other lesser-known energy sources that are considered renewable, like geothermal, biomass, and tidal energy. Some of these are more practical to use than others, but they all have one big advantage over non-renewable energy sources: they don’t contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
2) Go vegetarian or vegan
If you’re concerned about the environment and the effects of food production on the planet, vegetarianism or veganism is a great place to start.
Meat production is a leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions and water pollution. On a global scale, “meat accounts for nearly 60% of all greenhouse gases from food production”.
Switching to a plant-based diet is one of the best ways to reduce your environmental impact.
3) Consume sustainably-sourced foods
The majority of the food we consume today is grown with synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. These chemicals are harmful to both plants and humans, and they can also pollute the soil, water, and air.
Rather than purchasing foods that are conventionally grown, you can also look for foods that are certified organic or sustainably grown. These include food products that have been grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers and have been ethically sourced.
Organic certifications cover more than just food; it also applies to other products like clothing and beauty products.
You can also choose to purchase foods that are grown locally. This will help reduce the amount of pollution that is released into the environment from shipping.
4) Walk, bike, or take public transport when travelling short distances
When it comes to the environment, cars are a leading source of pollution.
A lot of people don’t know that but even if you drive a hybrid or electric car, you’re still harming the environment.
Electric cars use lithium batteries. “Currently, most lithium is extracted from hard rock mines or underground brine reservoirs, and much of the energy used to extract and process it comes from CO2-emitting fossil fuels. Particularly in hard rock mining, for every tonne of mined lithium, 15 tonnes of CO2 are emitted into the air.”
You can reduce your carbon footprint by doing what I do – walking or riding your bike to get around.
And if you live in a suburban area, you can reduce the amount of pollution you create by using public transportation.
5) Install a rainwater harvesting system for your home or business
Rainwater harvesting is the process of collecting and storing rainwater in order to use it for other purposes.
Some common uses for rainwater harvesting include irrigation for gardens or lawns, drinking water, and even for use in toilets.
Rainwater harvesting can be done on a large scale by government and municipal agencies, as well as on a small scale by individual homeowners and businesses.
The water from harvesting can either be used directly or it can be filtered, treated, or otherwise processed before use.
Other sustainable practices that help the environment
1) Eco-friendly manufacturing
Eco-friendly manufacturing is the practice of using less water, less electricity, and less raw materials in order to create a product.
It is often used in the textile industry in order to reduce the amount of water used in the dyeing process. Other practices include using less harmful chemicals and using renewable energy sources to power factories.
By taking these practices into account, companies are able to reduce the amount of pollution they produce as well as the amount of resources they consume.
This benefits the environment by reducing the amount of carbon emissions in the air and the amount of waste in landfills.
2) Sustainable buildings
Sustainable buildings are designed with energy efficiency in mind.
This means that the building’s design is meant to reduce the amount of electricity needed to keep the building running. By creating eco-friendly buildings, companies are able to reduce the amount of pollution their buildings produce as well as the amount of resources they consume.
Sustainable buildings reduce the amount of carbon emissions in the air as well as the amount of waste produced by the building.
Sounds good, right?
3) Sustainable food supply chain
Sustainable food supply chains take the health of the environment into account when creating food products.
This means that companies are looking to reduce the amount of pollution and the amount of resources needed to create their food.
Sustainable food supply chains often rely on eco-friendly practices such as using organic fertilizers as well as using less water in the production process.
By implementing sustainable practices to create their food products, these companies are helping to build a healthier ecosystem.
Environmental sustainability is a global issue that requires everyone to pitch in and do their part.
Sustainable businesses create eco-friendly products and services while using less pollution and fewer resources.
This benefits our environment by reducing the amount of carbon emissions in the air and the amount of waste produced in landfills.
Sustainability is an important concept that has gained traction due to the increasingly dangerous climate conditions that we’re currently facing. With the help of sustainable practices, we can protect our planet for years to come.
But, you don’t have to be a business owner, scientist, engineer, or government official to make a difference.
By making a few simple changes to your daily life, you can help make the world a better place. Remember, we have the power to change the world, and what we do each day matters.
By learning how you can make a difference, you can inspire others to do the same. Together, we can make the world a better place for generations to come.
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