Written by: Thomas Sheffield

You may have recently heard people throwing the word sustainability around. Although it is important, sustainability is much more than recycling and conservation. It is defined as the way to meet the needs of today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainability is so important, the government and business community have developed departments to deal with the earth’s natural resources and inefficiencies. Our colleges and universities now have sustainability programs to teach students to think differently. Sustainability experts are used now for everything from building construction and home design to waste disposal and risk mitigation. We have come to a point in time where the earth’s natural resources will not be able to meet the needs of the living organisms that occupy it. Sustainability should be at the forefront of our minds and the decisions we make. If we do not make better decisions, we will leave a horrible planet to our descendants.

Our planet is a wonderfully made planet which is made to sustain life. There is a delicate balance and rhythm to the order of things.We must be mindful of this balance with the decisions we make. By the year 2050, there will be 9 billion people on the earth. Couple population growth with over-consumption, we have put a strain on the planet. Within the past 30 years, we have consumed one-third of the planet’s natural resources. The emissions from the use of the resources have clearly affected climate change. Variations in the temperature can have horrible effects on the life this planet sustains.

If we are to maintain and bring value to our planet, we must change the way we produce and consume our goods and services. To make these changes, we must change the way we think. We must change the way we have been doing things for the past 50 years. Surely by now, the race problems we have would not be worse than they were 50 years ago. Surely by now, we would all be part of America where millions of people have the milk of prosperity and the honey of equality flowing through them. Surely by now, our children will grow up in the sunlight of opportunity. Surely by now, under-employment and unemployment is not a reality. Surely by now, we must not worry about clean water, clean air, clean land or food to sustain ourselves in America. But we do. The point of sustainability is to deal with issues and challenges we face in regards to the planet, the people on the planet and the financial responsibility it takes to survive.

There are wonderful opportunities to become more efficient and lead the way for social change. What part will you play in ensuring you leave a rich planet for generations to come? What small changes are you willing to make in order to give the next generation a better planet than we have now? We must become the change we will like to see. We must be sure our leaders have the same vision for the future. We must hold those leaders accountable for the decisions they make. Together, I am sure we will be able to take advantage of these opportunities that will help all of society.

Follow Sheffield on Twitter @tcsheff.