When some hear the term, “sustainability,” they often envision Green Peace or some hippie, liberal faction trying to put the screws to capitalism. In reality, it’s about ensuring the continuation of the human species. And today, I’ll break down why sustainability is an important factor.
Because in reality, humanity is in much bigger trouble that what many believe.
And no, I’m not an alarmist. But you can’t deny some of the things that are going on in the world today…outside of a viral pandemic.
Why Is Sustainability Such a Focus Today?
Being sustainable is more than turning vegan or buying hemp clothes. In reality, most of us can do a small part for being more green just by walking to the store instead of driving.
However, there are several practical components why sustainability holds such an interest today.
1. Our Consumption is Surpassing Our Means
One argument that is sweeping across many channels is how human consumption is going beyond production capacity. Meaning we consume more than is being produced.
This, in turn, leads to an array of issues such as expanding agriculture to the point of further endangering wildlife and sustainability. For instance, a lot of major fires burning today are a result of land clearing for agriculture.
Most of our production is fueled by maximizing profits and making shareholders happy. It all revolves around money and how to make the most of it as quickly as possible.
Just in Colorado alone, the asset value of agriculture reached $49.9 billion in 2019. Of course, this includes all assets such as land, buildings, equipment and stock.
2. Getting Away from Archaic Technology
Most people in the world today have access to smartphones. These handheld devices have more processing power than desktop computers did 20 years ago.
Yet, humanity still relies on burning fossil fuels for a lot of day-to-day activities. It’s an archaic technology of more than 100 years old.
Did you know solar panels have been around for about the same amount of time? In 1883, Charles Fritts put together the first solar panel in New York. So, why haven’t humans advanced more in the field?
It’s true that humanity is finally putting more effort into renewable sources of energy that are cheaper to maintain. But why didn’t we take those ideas from the 1800s and run with them, as the tech industry did with smartphones in the early 2000s?
Investors and money.
At that time, the solar panel only had a conversion rate of 2%, maximum. Not to mention it was far more expensive to put arrays together than to simply rely on coal and oil.
My point is that interest and investment are what drive technologies forward. At the time, there was far more money coming in from coal and oil.
3. Overall Healthcare Costs
Not everyone considers the overall healthcare costs that come from sustainability. The fact is, a lot of ailments and hospital visits can be cut if humanity put more effort into being “green.”
Black lung and silicosis are just some of the respiratory diseases that come from coal mining. And this contributed to almost $47 billion in compensation from the federal government between 1970 and 2016.
And this doesn’t include the costs for healthcare that comes from an incredibly overweight country.
Insurance premiums, co-pays, deductibles, and more are often lower for those who live a healthier lifestyle. Now, imagine what those costs would be if the majority of humanity decided to stop putting themselves in harm’s way just to make a buck.
In some cities, simply running outdoors exposes you to a toxic atmosphere due to pollution levels. However, exercise can help counteract the side effects, as long as you do so in moderation.
4. Improving the Cost of Living
Having a more sustainable outlook can help you save a lot of money in a myriad of ways. In fact, the benefits of being green at home can range from saving money at the grocery store to reducing medical costs.
But one of the elements behind why sustainability is such a trend deals more with overall cost of living for humanity.
For example, a coal-fired power plant relies on workers drilling into the ground for, well, coal. This means the power company has to buy tons of this substance to keep the power on.
Then consider the worker’s paycheck, health insurance, transportation costs, and more than goes into every kilowatt hour produced by that plant.
A solar array or wind farm has a fraction of the maintenance costs. In truth, it is cheaper to maintain sustainable energy over the long-term than any other method…with the exception of nuclear power, which is a monster of its own.
My point is the cost of living as a human decreases the more sustainable we are as a species.
5. Climate Change IS Happening
Whether you believe climate change is man-made or not, the fact of the matter is the world is, indeed, going through a phase. Heat records are being set in many areas while others are seeing the worst rain and snow falls in history.
Consider how humanity is experiencing storms of the century more often than every 100 years.
By preparing for these changes, we can (pardon the term) weather these events without experiencing severe losses to economy or human life.
For instance, consider how the permafrost in Russia melted just enough to knock over an oil tank at a power plant. This spill stretched to a minimum of 12 kilometers from the site and contaminated a 350 square kilometer area.
This is just one instance of why sustainability should be on everyone’s radar. Imagine trying to fish from a river filled with oil.
6. It’s What New Consumers Want
In past articles, I cover how businesses benefit from being green. One of the points is because that’s what the new generation of consumers want.
In fact, the majority of shoppers today have a high opinion about businesses that prove why sustainability is vital. When it comes to buying goods and services, many will pay the extra money if they knew the product helped the environment in some way.
If politicians want to use the economy as an example for using fossil fuels, perhaps they should read the reports regarding how much money sustainable-minded businesses actually make.
There’s a reason why solar panels are cropping up everywhere across the world. Not only is it good for the environment, but it saves money in the long run while being a profitable prospect for installers.
And many people are put to work every time a wind farm is constructed…who often make a pretty good wage compared to many other jobs out there.
Why Sustainability Should Matter to You
You see, finding a better way for humanity is in everyone’s best interest. Not only does sustainability promote a healthier body, but it’s also good for the economy.
Because, let’s face it, there will always be someone who figures out a way to make money from something. And if investors and the public had more interest in the 1880s from solar power, humanity would probably be far more advanced today.
But in the end, living longer without health complications should be why sustainability matters to everyone.
Michael has been interested in the practicality of living green for quite some time. He works closely with GreenGeeks Web Hosting as the Content Marketing Team Lead and an author of various articles.