Sustainability: The ability to continue a behavior at a rate which will not deplete resources, well-being, or productivity for the future.
So how does this break down?
Sustainability contains three main aspects, or pillars, affecting actions:
Rates of crop harvest, non-renewable resource use, and pollution should not exceed what the environment can support indefinitely.
This is the strongest pillar of the three because economic and social well being live within the greater context of the Earth. The two others cannot be maintained without a strong, healthy environment.
A level of economic production that maintains economic quality of life from one year to the next.
This can be achieved by maintaining a stable value of goods and services in an area.
The goal of any system is to maintain a desired quality of life indefinitely.
This factor is often the hardest to achieve because people disagree on how to define social wellbeing. For example, the ideas of political and religious well being tend to vary from one person to the next. As a result of this, the conditions for social wellbeing are not concrete.
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Why Sustainability Matters
Incorporating the three pillars of sustainability into daily life is a necessary part of maintaining both Earth's resources and quality of life.