Humans have a special relationship with the environment. This is a relationship that we must nurture, and intricately consider, so we can continue to work together in a harmonious fashion.
The natural environment helps to sustain human life. The earth is full of natural resources that we rely on for survival, yet these natural resources are finite. This means that there is a limit to our Earth, and we cannot use resources faster than they can be replenished. We tend to use our resources without considering its effect on the environment. To sustain our environment and ultimately sustain ourselves, we must intentionally work with Earth’s natural systems. Innately, these systems support us and we must continue to do our part in taking care of the Earth.
Sustainability is a term that refers to the longevity and support of a system. When we talk about achieving “sustainability” in reference to the Earth, we are referring to maintaining a balance among the Earth so that it can continue to carry on.
We must make a concerted effort to steward our natural resources and environment in order to keep things in balance. Our resources are not infinite, but they are available to us based on how well we take care of our environment. The following are tactics we can use to assist us in better sustaining the Earth: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Refuse.
This pertains to reducing the amount of consumption of a given material or resource. For example, you could reduce the amount of water you use by choosing to turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth. Businesses can minimize waste through getting utilities such as hand dryers rather than disposable paper towels. This also includes reducing the amount of electric you use. This calls us not to waste materials and resources, and only use the amount that is necessary.
This is a call to reuse items that can be reused, and to buy items that are reusable rather than disposable. For example, using metal utensils and reusable plates rather than disposable utensils and plates. This also goes for water bottles and coffee mugs. Plastic grocery bags are another example of an item that can be reused. Clothing is a great resource to reuse. You can find local charities where you can donate your clothing when you no longer want it, and you can choose to purchase items from thrift stores or second hand shops, rather than buying everything new.
Recycling is similar to reusing, but in the process of recycling, an item is sometimes broken down chemically to be used for a new purpose. According to Waste Management the following items are recyclable:
Certain items are detrimental for the environment, because they cannot be recycled, broken down, or reused. Styrofoam is an example of an item that cannot be broken down, so it is a good material to avoid using. Also, if you don’t need a bag for your items when checking out at the store, refuse the offer to receive one.
There you have it, the "Four R's" of sustainability. Stay tuned for more articles on applying sustainability to your everyday life. Let's take care of our Earth together!
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©2018 Community Planner Anna Caffrey