by Andrew Tidswell, Blackwood Sustainable Communities Group
This article appeared on page 6 of Adelaide East Herald, 3 June 2021
Being sustainable is generally understood to mean meeting our current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs, including environmental, social and economic requirements.
As a formal definition it goes back to the United Nations Brundtland Commission in 1983 which specifically considered sustainable development. It was intended as a holistic approach to provide equity for current and future generations. It refers to the ability of the earth’s natural environment and human activity to co-exist harmoniously and indefinitely. This is a big ask, given how much we continue to destroy and pollute our planet.
In recent times we have become much more conscious of the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions and our changing climate. To have a sustainable future we need to undertake mitigation and adaptation actions. Mitigation requires seriously reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.
We should have high expectations of our governments to commit to significant reductions in these, and we should be constantly challenging them to do more.
Adaptation requires developing strategies to cope with a changing climate, given that past and current emissions have already locked in significant changes.
Again we should have high expectations of our leaders to put plans in place to deal with hotter and drier summers, more storm events and weather extremes.
We have had a taste of how our leaders deal with crisis situations this past year with the COVID-19 pandemic, and while many things have been done to keep us safe and healthy, much continues to be a knee-jerk reaction with little forward planning.
With climate change we need a similar resolve, but with better planning. We can also play our part by the things we do as individuals and as communities.
Fortunately there are many people doing amazing things to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Many organisations promote these and provide examples of good things being done in our communities – check out their websites:
Changing our behaviour can be easy and can save money, time and resource consumption as well as reducing pollution. Living more sustainably, modelling good practices, one step at a time, can be a great example to others. Never underestimate the influence you can have on someone else and the planet.