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At some point, we all have heard of the word sustainability. We probably understand the gist of it, but what does it mean to be sustainable? The word is used to describe the many ways of improving our way of life but being sustainable does not come with a rigid definition. It simply means carefully living within our natural resources, as to avoid damaging the environment in the present, nor in the future, to ensure the continuous availability of these resources.

Sustainability is important for a very simple straightforward reason – we cannot maintain our quality of life as human beings, the diversity of life on Earth, or Earth’s ecosystems unless we embrace it. These reasons aim for one definite goal – to save our planet for ourselves, living beings within it, and the future generations. It is crucial for us to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.

For decades, many of us failed to realise the true cost of industrial development, up until recently. Thankfully, these days awareness is on the rise, and more and more individuals and big companies are starting to address this issue and take parts in playing their respective roles to safeguard the sustainability of the natural resources of our planet. You can, and you should be one of them, too.

Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For us humans, it is the long-term maintenance of our well-being. In order to have healthy communities, it is essential for us to have clean air to breathe, clean water to drink from, and unceasing resources in a non-toxic environment. Only then will we be able to protect the survival of our species.

What happens if we aren’t aware of sustainability issues? As the planet’s human population has increased, natural ecosystems have declined and a change in the balance of natural cycles has had a negative impact on both humans and other living systems. Should this event continues, it is almost a guarantee that we will not have a livable environment in the near future.

According to Permaculture Research Institute – an institute that works with individuals and communities worldwide, to expand the knowledge and practice of integrated, sustainable agriculture and culture – if we don’t change, we will run out of fossil fuels. Thousands if not millions of animal species will become extinct. We will run out of lumber, and we will damage the atmosphere beyond repair.

How can you start practicing a sustainable lifestyle? The easiest way is to recycle, recycle, recycle! Recycle as much as possible! Recycling helps to reduce waste. Waste has such a huge negative impact on our environment that many developed countries, such as South Korea, have made it compulsory for every household to recycle or risk being fined. Buying products labelled post-consumer will also help in reducing the usage of natural resources, and it lets companies know that recycling is the way to go.

Another easy way to be sustainable is to reduce the usage of household energy. Turn off the lights when you’re stepping out of the room, install energy-efficient appliances, and hang clothes to dry instead of using the dryer for example. There are many ways to execute this step.
You can also start carpooling with your friends when you go out, or with your colleagues when you’re heading to work. The best way is to rely less on personal transportation and opt for public transport, but if we’re being realistic, it is sort of hard to rely on the latter in our country at the moment. In the meantime, as the industry progresses, we can be creative and find other solutions to rely less on our car.

There are many other ways for us to practice sustainability. Just do a little research online and we will be met with abundance of creative ways to adapt to the lifestyle. Being sustainable is a global responsibility; it can only be achieved if we all put work into it. It might seem trivial, and you might feel like you’re not affecting any changes to the planet, but best believe that this global movement starts with you. It is an unselfish act that benefits us all, especially the future generations. Do not be discouraged, every little action counts.