A Simple Introduction to Environmental Sustainability for Modern Professionals


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“Sustainability” means the capacity of any type of system, natural or man-made, to flourish over the course of time. In the same way, environmental sustainability” is the capacity of a natural ecosystem to provide adequate resources for all of its living beings’ needs as well as preserve enough resources for the generations of the future. Although this term is commonly applied to natural ecosystems like forests, rivers, and ponds, it can be also applied to other systems including professional enterprises.

The genesis of ‘sustainability’ can be traced back to ancient times. Our ancestors saw the fragility of natural environments and accordingly, placed some rules to limit the intake of resources to better support coming generations. The modern popularity of sustainability today is primarily through many international meetings organized by the United Nations over many years. They have been bringing governments, thought leaders, scientists and many more together to discuss these issues. With time, they have studied challenges in detail, developed consensus within an international community and also formed rules for governments and businesses alike. 

Understanding Sustainability in the Professional Context

The term sustainability is often misunderstood in professional and corporate vernacular. It’s said so commonly that it’s simply become a synonym for anything positive. But for professionals especially, it’s much more than just something positive. This implies responsible and proactive approach to decision-making in business to nurture the health and vitality of natural environments. This also means maintaining a balance between the capacity of an ecosystem to replenish easily, societal well-being, economic prosperity and cultural vibrancy to ensure that our planet continues to be a safe haven. 

Here are some of the metrics to better understand the implementation of sustainability today: 

  • Geographical contexts: It’s nearly impossible to practically realize sustainability around the world because of the sheer size and complexity of our planet’s diverse ecosystems. But we can start with smaller regions like forests, gardens, farms and even office areas. We can consider them as independent and at the same time, situated in complex ecosystems interconnected with living beings and non-living beings. 
  • Consumption of Resources: In the discussion about environmental sustainability, we need to consider our consumption of resources. We thus need to quantify our needs for various resources and consider just how much resources we are consuming.
  • Environmental Strength or Resiliency: We need to consider an area’s strength or resiliency i.e., its capacity to respond to disturbances and retain its basic health. 
  • Environmental Carrying Capacity: The carrying capacity is the maximum number of people or living beings that an ecosystem can sustain easily. 

Sustainability is a Call to Action

The idea of sustainability is meant to inspire our society towards keeping our planet Earth healthy, not only for ourselves, but for other living beings, today and for the future. But it’s also an ideal i.e., it is an imagined idea of a perfect future that may never be realistically possible in light of environmental crises like degradation, pollution and habitat loss. 

Through decades of study and discussion around the world, sustainability brings along a long list of related scientific concepts as well as subjective opinions. So, it has become more open to each person’s individual interpretation today. But in light of the many environmental crises, sustainability has always meant to spur us all of us into action. In particular, the need to introduce sustainable approaches to our day-to-day activities is very urgent for businesses and modern professionals. 

Because the private sector is a very big portion of today’s economy, businesses and professionals here have the power to help the world profoundly. By making simple choices to introduce more environmentally sustainable practices, they can inspire countless others including businesses, professionals and the common man towards the hope of a better future.


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