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A sustainable future has become one of those concepts that are disseminated by the mass media so actively that it is no longer clear what they initially mean. Thus, the importance of contributing to the formation of a sustainable future seems to be undoubted in the modern context. Meanwhile, many people do not have a clear vision of what they are supposed to do as well as what outcomes they should potentially expect. As a result, the plans to improve future reality remain unrealized.
Thence, the paper at hand is aimed at examining the concept of sustainability and the core elements that it comprises. A particular focus is put on alternative solutions that might be proposed in terms of building a sustainable future.
The Concept of Sustainable Future
First and foremost, it is essential to focus on the concept of a sustainable future and its main attributes in the modern context. The concept has been widely employed in the media context so that the people straining for a sustainable future might now have different visions of what they struggle for. Otherwise stated, it is critical to target the desired outcomes so that it will be easier to work out the relevant strategy.
On the face of it, the term “sustainability” is normally associated with the natural environment. When a global company releases its so-called “Sustainability Report,” it usually comprises information about the company’s activity in terms of preserving nature. However, such an approach to the interpretation of sustainability is not exactly correct, as it neglects some important connotations that this notion implies.
The term is often used as the equivalent for “ecological,” yet, there are some critical differences in the two notions. Thus, for instance, Canadian professors put a particular emphasis on such aspects as stability and balance, while speaking about sustainability (Heymann & Barrera 2013). In other words, while trying to ensure a sustainable future, it is, first and utmost, important to work out the mechanisms that would guarantee the consistent development of the related aspects of life: social, environmental, and economic. The focus on one of the aspects and the neglect of the other would upset the balance without which sustainability cannot exist. As a result, while speculating upon the alternative solutions in terms of ensuring a sustainable future, a particular emphasis will be put on the complex approach to the problem.
Shaping a Sustainable Mentality
The famous American writer and environment activist, Derrick Jensen (2006, p.190), once noted that “we cannot hope to create a sustainable culture with any but sustainable souls.” It might be assumed that this idea is the pivot in the framework of sustainability insurance.
First of all, it shows that sustainability is a culture; otherwise stated, it is a complex of values and principles that a person sticks to in the course of his or her life. This aspect is of significant importance as a large percentage of people tend to regard the problem of sustainability distantly. Thus, they would approve the effort performed on the global level, yet, they would not make any attempt to bring in some sustainability to their everyday life.
Therefore, it is suggested that building a sustainable future begins with shaping a sustainable mentality. To do that, it is essential to extend one’s vision of a life beyond the so-called “micro level.” The problem of sustainability should become critical to every person notwithstanding his or her social background, ethnicity, occupation, etc. Jensen (2006, p.191) notes that society is unlikely to start acting until it realizes the integrity of the surrounding community.
Whether it is the problem of poor ecology, poverty, pollution, etc., it is critical that people treat these problems like their own, feel responsible for resolving them, and do not try to fence themselves off within their families and the intimate circles. Hence, it is assumed that a sustainable mentality is an initial step on the road to building a sustainable future. Whatever paradoxical it might seem, this step might turn out to be the most challenging.
From Theory to Practice: Creating a Sustainable Agriculture
In the meantime, a sustainable mentality is only the primary stage – it is evident that building a sustainable future requires some practical measures. It is highly problematic to outline a general strategy for addressing the problem. The scope of spheres of possible activities is extremely wide. At this point, it is assumed rational to focus on the agriculture sector as the sustainability of which essentially affects all the people, to a smaller or larger extent.
In their book, Heymann and Barrera (2013, p.259) explain the importance of agriculture in terms of a sustainable environment. Thus, according to the authors, this problem is closely interconnected to other critical aspects: poverty, the shortage of food, the shortage of water, to name but a few. Nevertheless, the pivot point of concern is water. Unfortunately, it is natural that people, living in big cities, being surrounded by the best commodities offered by civilization, tend to underestimate the scope of the problem related to the water shortage. Meanwhile, it is, likewise, evident that this problem will once become common unless it is addressed timely.
The question, consequently, arises regarding what can be done to address the problem on the “local” level. One person is unable to perform an equal allocation of the water resources and resolve the problem. It looks as if this mission is unmanageable even for the entire government. Meanwhile, what a singular individual can do is to reduce water waste. The task might turn out to be more complicated than it initially seems. However, if every owner of a household, a factory, a café, or a small shop targets an aim to stop wasting water, the outcome will be more productive than the joint efforts of all the relevant official organizations rolled into one.
In conclusion, it is essential to note that sustainability is a complex and complicated concept that comprises a series of critical elements, both socio-economic and ecological. Thus, to ensure a sustainable future, it is, first and foremost, essential to have a clear vision of what particular problems one is determined to resolve.
It is suggested that building a sustainable future begins with re-shaping the mentality. Otherwise put, sustainability must become a life principle rather than a vague aim. As long as one realizes his or her integrity with the environment, it will be simpler to get down to performing the change. Referring to the example of water waste, this paper shows that change is not always a challenge.
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Heymann, J & Barrera, M 2013, Ensuring a Sustainable Future: Making Progress on Environment and Equity, Oxford University Press, New York, New York.
Jensen, D 2006, Endgame, Seven Stories Press, New York, New York.