Skip to main content

Sustainability - what does it mean to you?


Sustainability Tree

The best place to begin any enterprise is at the beginning, so before we go charging off into the sunset to save the planet, I thought we should determine just what sustainability really means to us.  Sustainability is a relatively new term to most people however its roots can be traced back to the environmental debates of the early 1970s.  During the 1980s sustainable became linked with development and thus the U.N. World Commission definition was born, “sustainable development is that development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Today sustainability programs attempt to integrate the three elements related to quality of life in a community, which have traditionally been considered separately. These are represented as the economic, social, and environmental systems that provide for a healthy, productive, and meaningful life for all community residents.  These elements are sometimes viewed as a triangle with each leg baring equal weight and whereby a commitment to balancing the competing interests in public decision making must be the ultimate goal.  

The sustainability we will be exploring in this column will be local, noting that the future is influenced by the collective action of each individual, and given the fact that no one person can change the world alone.  We will look at actions that individuals can take, maybe only slight life altering steps, that will form the foundation for sustainable development in which we can all begin to build upon.

The focus of these discussions will center on increasing our energy efficiency, minimizing the environmental impact, and identifying forward looking technologies that will meet our own individual needs in unique ways.  By managing our households in such a manner we will hope to provide sustainable resources for future generations.

In keeping with the season and winter’s pending appearance, over the next couple of months, this column will address ways to improve energy efficiency within the home through a series of ideas incorporating both new technologies, do-it-yourself projects, possible lifestyle alterations, and some old tried-and-true methods that worked generations ago, so why not now?

Let every individual and institution now think and act as a responsible trustee of Earth, seeking choices in ecology, economics and ethics that will provide a sustainable future, eliminate pollution, poverty, and violence, awaken the wonder of life and foster peaceful progress in the human adventure.”  - John McConnell, founder of International Earth Day

Please contact me with ideas, subject matter, questions, or new technologies that you would like to see discussed in future editions. Saving tomorrow begins today.






  • Kathleen 5 years ago

    Great article. Well written and excellent points.

    I'm starting the Forever Farm where children who age out of the foster care system in the Roc NY area have a place they can be "green" and have a place called home for Christmas, Thanksgiving and other holidays.

    I'll send u the specs if you want to see them. No public utilities will be used and will be modelled after the NY HELP missing on LaLaguna Honduras.

    Keep up the good writing and I'm looking forward to your next article.

  • Ralph 5 years ago

    Good stuff. Take a look at Jared Diamond's "Collapse-How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed" if you haven't already read it. Available at Penguin books.

  • Dr. P 5 years ago

    Mr. Wagner.

    I am eager to hear more ideas about how saving the Earth will save me money.