Hello and welcome to my blog! My name is Rashida Haye. I’m a third year student at Muhlenberg College studying public health and sustainability studies. This semester (Spring 2019), I’m taking a course called Sustainable Solutions where we identify problems/ issue in society, explore individual and organization action, and propose various ways to promote a more equitable, dignified, and sustainable future.
The very first day of class, my professor turned to us an asked: What does it mean to be sustainable? How do we define sustainability. He was met with silence as we all sat and jostled the question around in our own minds. On the surface, the concept of sustainability seems completely straightforward, but as with most words or concepts, verbalizing their definition in ways applicable to our actions, surrounds, and belief systems is not as simple a task. After a couple classes of back and forth discussion, revision, and analysis of this definition, we- as a class- came to this consensus. This is how we, the Sustainable Solutions Class of Spring 2019, define “sustainability”:
Something is sustainable if it’s initiatives, actions or impacts serve to meet the social and economic needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own through:
- reducing resource use, encouraging re-use, and minimizing waste while protecting and restoring the health of natural systems and biodiversity, reducing pollution, and addressing global climate change
- equitable economic development that empowers people to meet their own needs rather than exploiting them
- an elevated and dignified standard of human well-being for all people including but not limited to improved health and access to basic human rights.
Best practices for meeting these objectives include using an inclusive, transparent process; that employs systems thinking; encourages individual action; and assessment using measurable indicators.