What is Sustainability?
A sustainable society is one that is environmentally viable, economically robust, and socially just and equitable one that meets the needs of the present without compromising the resources for future generations.
Sustainability presumes that resources are finite, and should be used conservatively and wisely with a view to long-term priorities and consequences of the way in which rescources are used. Superior sustainable practices simultaneously consider ecology, economy, social equity and aesthetic elegance.
We can look at almost any aspect of our daily lives through this lens of sustainability, from waste to food, from clothing to cars, from our education to our interactions with other cultures. From transcontinental travel to the geopolitical balance of power across the globe, we can ask ourselves this question in virtually every sphere of our lives: in the long term, is this sustainable, can this be continued indefinitely into the future?
If the answer is no, then it is time to start looking for constructive alternatives. As a university, we have a special role in society as educators, as knowledge creators, as leaders and innovators. It will require much effort on our part to engage our community to foster and support partnerships that work to create a more ecological, equitable, and economically viable community and region, but if we work together in the spirit of compassion and collaboration, we will succeed in creating viable alternatives for a thriving human society.
Published: Monday, April 07, 2008