Sustainability is the number one politically correct word on everyone's lips, but what does it mean?
Sustainability by definition means living with the resources (food, water and shelter) that are available at your location in a manner that allows those resources to be replenishable so that their use is sustainable over time.
When I look out my office window across the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, there is one thing that obviously comes to mind–this population requires more drinking water than is sustainable for this location. Disregard landscaping, bathing, pools, industry or any other water use, there just isn't enough drinking water here for all these people. It can make you want to throw-up your hands and say, "Forget it. Sustainability isn't possible."
But I just listened in on the White House's Council on Environmental Quality's meeting with representatives from all of the Government agencies covered by President Obama's mandate for GreenGovernment (GreenGov) that was initiated in October 2009. I was pleasantly surprised and heartened. Government employees across all of these agencies were asked what changes they thought would help make their work places more environmentally sustainable. Suggestions were then voted on by the employees themselves. Some of their suggestions are already being implemented to save our tax dollars and reduce the wasting of natural resources. I encourage you to take advantage of this new administration's openness and watch or listen to the meeting yourself on the Council's blog page: Council on Environmental Quality Meeting (http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/blog)
It inspired me to put forth this challenge to all of you.
What can you do to make this a Green Holiday Season?
Post your ideas in the comments or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm challenging myself to post a green idea a day.
As the representative from the Department of Health & Human Services said at the Council meeting, "Success comes from the bottom-up."
So here's my first Green Holiday Action:
I saved time, greenhouse gases and money by using the Internet to find a specific product I was looking for as a gift. After locating the product, I was able to find the best price and purchase the item all on-line. Secondly, I realized this one item was the perfect gift for a number of people on my list. Gifts for 7 people will all be arriving in one small box through the mail.
Sustainability is a difficult goal, but think of it this way:
Your house is never perfectly clean. Cleaning up the kitchen periodically, vacuuming weekly, practicing daily actions that maintain your home environment are all beneficial. If you do nothing your home will soon become unlivable. The Earth is our only home, daily practices, even if small, can make a huge difference.
What will you do today to make a positive difference?