Steps for Sustainability
What is sustainability?
Sustainability. For some people it means protecting the environment. Others believe it means securing health and well-being of families and communities. For still others sustainability is about economic prosperity.
At the Fraser Basin Council, we believe sustainability embraces multiple dimensions. Our Charter for Sustainability defines the word sustainability this way:
“Living and managing activities in a way that balances
A shift to long-term thinking
Research back in 2006 showed that many Canadians had developed a sense of unease, even urgency, about climate change, and about protecting the air, water and land. People were also concerned about the global implications of local decisions, the widening gap between rich and poor, addictions and illness, and what can be done to ensure continued economic opportunities for their children.
Yet it’s also clear that day-to-day demands take so much time, energy and resources. Can we meet our needs today and invest in tomorrow?
Sustainability is a mouthful of a word, but once people understand the concept, they support it. Sustainability is focused on building a good life, but minimizing harmful impacts that would remove options for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. It’s a question of looking forward – to our common future.
There’s reason for optimism
While sustainability is a big challenge, there is good news.
First, everyone can make a difference. If people look at the whole picture – the long-term social, economic and environmental impacts of the choices they make – they can find ways to act more sustainably.
Second, people need to know they are not alone about their concerns. Research shows that – whether they say so or not – friends, family, neighbours and colleagues have similar concerns.
So, what are people thinking?
The views of Canadians on sustainability were probed in a 2006 research study by Jim Hoggan and Associates, with participation of FBC and other organizations. It was breakthrough research and profiled at FBC’s 2006 State of the Fraser Basin Conference.
Jim Hoggan and Associates undertook new research in 2009 with members of the Canadian public and with thought leaders from different sectors. According to that research, 93% of Canadians believe sustainability should be a national priority. Other findings: 72% of Canadians believe that the impacts of climate change will be very serious, 62% that human activity is the primary cause and 77% would like to see Canada take a leadership position to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For a look at survey findings n Canadian views on sustainability policies and individual actions, visit the Hoggan website.
Your own steps for sustainability