Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sustainable Living

When we think of the word,sustainability, a global picture comes to mind. Global warming and serious environmental concerns seem to overwhelm our thinking as we look at the well being of the planet from a broad perspective. The idea of taking on massive global issues seems to reach way beyond our personal scope of influence.  Sustainability creates a global challenge that ultimately requires addressing economic, social and environmental concerns.

When we think of sustainability in terms of sustainable living, the problem seems less and the solution seems more individualized. The term sustainable living seems to create a clear path to a healthy lifestyle and a healthier planet.  It seems to break the problem down into smaller pieces.  It also brings to mind the collective impact that we can make as individuals as we make wiser lifestyle choices that gives birth to solutions that create positive change.

Getting back to nature and living simply, brings us closer to the Earth. Through our actions, we define respect and support the symbiotic relationship we have with the Earth through making a positive impact.  It’s not only the health of the planet that has precipitated concern.  It’s our personal health that has declined as a result of misguided attempts to improve our food system.  The health affects that may have resulted from industrial farming and mass production have yet to be fully realized.  The inclusion of chemical additives, pesticides, antibiotics, artificial hormones and genetic engineering may very well be undermining our health, having both short and long term ramifications.

So, when we think in terms of sustainability, the relationship between our own health and the health of the planet seems to be very closely related. Lifestyle and behavior can have a huge impact on our capacity as a society to preserve or exploit the precious natural resources that are available to us and future generations.  Our impact on the ecological systems is critical not only to the general health of the planet but also to our own well being.  If our land, air and water becomes polluted our ability to obtain optimal health becomes diminished.  In addition to the chemicals that we’re affected by through our food system ,we are also at risk of toxins that we’re continually being bombarded by in our environment. Chemicals in household cleaners and body care products can  have serious health implications. Our home environments also contain chemical contaminants that are often introduced through building materials as well as home furnishings.  It’s up to us, to self correct along the way and choose replacement materials wisely. 

Through lifestyle choices, conservation efforts and encouraging corporate social responsibility, sustainable living is within our reach. We can no longer be content with the status quo and allow big business to perpetuate the environmental problems that have come to the surface.  It’s up to us as individuals to make small steps toward big change.

Resources for Sustainable Living:

Center for a New American Dream

Co-op America

Sustainable Communities

World Wildlife Federation

Rainforest Action Network