Wednesday Word of the Week: Sustainability

Sustainability: [Environmental Geography]
Noun: use of resources in such a manner that they will never be exhausted.
Sustainable Production:
Noun. creation of goods and services using processes and systems that are: non-polluting; conserving of energy and natural resources; economically efficient; safe and healthful for workers, communities, and consumers; and socially and creatively rewarding for all working people.
Sustainable Development:
Noun. human construction, growth, and consumption that can be maintained without damage to the natural environment.
Sustainable Energy:
Noun. power from a source that will not reduce the energy available for future generations.


The photo above is what sustainability does NOT look like.

Sustainability and it’s related terms are all connected by a single
goal: to achieve long-term ecological balance. Sustainability can be
applied to many disciplines and can often entail developing unique
approaches to making a positive impact on the earth.  National
Geographic Intern, Makayla Trotter, describes what sustainability means
to her by saying that, “sustainability is a lifestyle or system of
thought that encourages efficiency, environmental simplification, and
wise resource use. An action is sustainable if it does not compromise
any groups of people and it does not exploit a resource.” 
Sustainability can be fluid in application, but requires all parties to
be more thoughtful in action and more aware of the ecological
environment and impact.


The photo above is an example of what sustainability CAN look like!

National Geographic Education has plenty of resources to learn more
about sustainability and related issues. As the human population–which
just surpassed 7 billion people this October–continues to grow, finding
ways to utilize the planet’s limited resources sustainably will become
an increasing challenge. National Geographic magazine is reporting a
year-long series on population, and NG Education has developed a suite
of educational resources to complement the magazine content. Learn how
dynamics of population growth and sustainability are related with this
special collection.

Photo Credits: Your Shot, Samantha Heydt & Lohran Fagundes      
–Julia from My Wonderful World

4 thoughts on “Wednesday Word of the Week: Sustainability

  1. Sustainability is about not creating the bags in the first place. Not how to reuse them. Reusing them should mean some practical way to do that. That dress is hardly an example of anything that is practical.

  2. I agree that is photo is far from the best example of what sustainability looks like, and for that I apologize for my selection; however, the dress in the photo above was the result of a Brazilian sustainability campaign designed to raise awareness about how to reuse bags in a more environmentally friendly fashion. Trash, in this case the bags, will not be discarded as a worthless item, but is being used as a new component to the development of clothing and other objects. The dress was made entirely of reused materials, such as rubber, leather, bubble wrap and plastic bags.

  3. I would say that a dress made from plastic is a horrible example of sustainability. We shouldn’t be creating the plastic in the first place. Is everyone going to wear this ugly dress so we can use up all the ugly plastic bags that we don’t need to create anyway?

Leave a Reply