This is the first in a series on living sustainably by the Benalla Sustainable Future Group.By John Lloyd, Benalla Sustainable Future Group president
Why is living sustainably important?
Unfortunately “sustainability” has become a much overused word and is often used to justify all sorts of actions which may or may not be truly sustainable.
So what do we mean by sustainability? What makes actions or processes sustainable?
Firstly, sustainability is about long term thinking. We need to consider if our way of living can continue for a long time into the future without using all the available resources and without causing harm to the environment. We need to think about the kind of world we will be leaving for future generations. We need to make sure that everything we need and depend on for our survival is not depleted and will continue to be available for many, many generations to come.
Unfortunately our current way of life does not meet these criteria. The dramatic increase in the standard of living that has occurred in the ‘developed’ world over the last century or so has been at great cost to the environment, with serious depletion of natural resources and pollution of the oceans, rivers and atmosphere.
Continuing improvement in our standard of living in the long term is only possible if it is done in a way that is sustainable and does not continue to deplete our finite resources. For humanity to have a sustainable future we must learn to live in balance with our environment.
So how do we adopt a more sustainable life style and reduce our impact on the environment?
This is not as difficult as you might imagine. There are many simple things one can do to live more sustainably. For a start we could think about the way we use energy. Can we use less by making a few simple changes such as turning the thermostat down a little for heating and up a little for cooling? If we live in town do we need to drive for those very short trips? Walking or riding a bike is better for our health and for the environment. Do we really need all the “stuff” that we keep buying, consuming and throwing away? Does it really make our life more meaningful?
In the coming months members of Benalla Sustainable Future Group will be writing a series of articles about how we can all live more sustainably and reduce our impact on the environment. Often these will be personal stories about what they have done. We hope these articles will be of interest to the community and will encourage others to adopt more sustainable life styles.
■ For further information about Benalla Sustainable Future Group phone: John Lloyd on 5765 2476, David Dore on 0434 358 375 or Peter Holmes on 5768 2379.
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