We launched Science and Sustainability month with an open thread, asking our readers “What does sustainability mean to you?” We received several truly stellar comments, but can, unfortunately, only choose one to be our comment of the week. Congratulations to Mark Gibson, who said:
I am constantly striving for a sustainable lifestyle, which I define as living in a way that yields greater, not less, environmental benefits and services for future generations.
But I don’t think such a lifestyle is yet possible for us. So it is an ideal to strive for. And by striving, we can push technology and social norms further towards those truly sustainable solutions.
I also think how we should live differs for each person. It is really about what each person’s capabilities are given their geographies, government policies, local infrastructures, incomes, etc. So we all should regularly ask ourselves, are living as sustainably as possible? I try to set aside a little time each month to look into a new area for improvement. My focus is always on the “lowest hanging fruit.” I’ve gotten great inspiration from the Zero Waste Home blog as of late (though it’ll be a long time till I get anywhere close to what they do).
In practice, I bike and take only public transport. I eat local and organic when possible and budget permitting. I never eat fish from poorly managed fisheries. I minimize my plastics use and take shorter showers. I make my own home cleaners. I try to buy less and borrow more. I live in a small apartment because I don’t want the footprint. And as my income goes up, I’ll focus on carbon offsets for my travel, getting a small home powered by renewables, growing my own veggies, and donating to pro-environment causes (including anti-poverty work).
Some suggest that going “off the grid” or living a hyper-aware, singularly eco-focused lifestyle is the answer. But I really disagree here. To appreciate our planet, we can’t check out of human society, nor can we spend every moment micro-managing our behavior.
source. emphasis mine.