Before you can do anything, it’s important to understand what sustainability means and why it is important. There are many thoughts and discussions on this topic. One of the more widely used definitions is from the 1987 United Nations (UN) Brundtland Commission, which defined sustainable development as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development). The UN developed 17 Sustainable Development Goals that are essentially a global call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
These are goals worthy of our attention. Whether in a classroom, your office, or at home, we can all make a difference. I like the UN’s lazy person’s guide to saving the world. There is something in here for all of us.
Start by looking around at your current environment. Here at the University of Georgia (UGA), the campus provides a wonderful venue for teaching and learning about sustainability. It is designated as an arboretum and has some great “Tree Walks” on campus. It’s a living lab!
“We abuse land because we see it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”
~ Aldo Leopold ~