What is Sustainability?

Sustainability is commonly defined as:

  • sustinability graphicMeeting present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own
  • Making conscious choices that sustain the quality of our region’s landscape and way of life

Sustainability is fundamentally about our relationship to the world around us and our responsibility to future generations. Sustainability does not demand perfection in the beginning. It is a journey comprised of individual choices that lead to healthy natural and social systems that can be sustained long into the future.

Western Sustainability Exchange believes there are three essential elements to sustainability that must be pursued as inseparable goals:

  • Economic prosperity
  • Environmental stewardship
  • Community well-being

These elements are linked by individual actions that recognize the interrelationships between people and the natural world, the carrying capacity of the planet, and the long-term consequences of our choices.

Examples of Sustainable Choices

  •  Reduce personal consumption
  •  Buy locally produced goods, especially food
  •  Re use goods, recycle and use recycled products
  •  Drive fuel efficient vehicles & use alternative fuels, such as bio diesel
  •  Use organic or sustainably produced food, gardening supplies and cleaning products
  •  Use “green” building designs and sustainably produced building materials
  •  Conserve water & energy and use renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind
  •  Use sustainable land management practices to protect water, soil, air & wildlife habitat
  •  Participate in public processes in a civil and creative manner

Benchmarks and indicators (such as air and water quality indices, wildlife populations, and yearly wage and employment figures) measure our progress. If chosen carefully, they can provide a comprehensive picture of the health of our environment, economy, and communities. They gauge our progress so that we can adjust policies and our personal behavior.

Western Sustainability Exchange believes that it will be through our everyday choices that we sustain the quality of the West’s landscape and way of life for present generations and those to come.