As Thomas Jefferson said to James Madison in 1789, “The Earth belongs to the living. No man by natural right can oblige the lands he occupies to debts greater than those that may be paid during his own lifetime. Because if he could the world would belong to the dead.”
Sustainability is not a new concept, we as a country have been trying to find equilibrium since Jefferson and Madison. As a society we are in a constant struggle between want and need. The availability of ‘stuff’ has given everyone the opportunity to have more, do more, and use more without thought of the bigger impact of that choice. Prices do not reflect the actual cost of making many items and it is hard to find this information. We are faced now with staggering issues that need to be addressed. For instance, 106,000 aluminum cans are used in the United States every thirty seconds, 50% of those cans are NOT recycled. Making simple smarter choices would cut costs, preserve resources for the future, and provide the materials being demanded by society.
Sustainability is “Development that meets the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” – United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development
True sustainability is simply making choices today that will not impact the ability of your next generation and the generation after that from being able to make that same choice. Recycling is not good enough, reuse is the answer. Preserving a few trees is not good enough, protecting forests is the answer. Conversation is not enough, Action is the answer!