The three guiding principles of sustainability

We are entering an age where we care deeply about our eco-system, and by this we often refer to the buzzword ‘sustainability.’ What does this mean? Sustainability is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” (Brundtland, 1987). In essence, sustainability means that as humans on this planet we must start seeing ourselves as organisms that are part and parcel of this eco-system. To be able to start being sustainable one must realize three guiding principles that act as a self-fulfilling prophecy in reaching this state of equilibrium and peace of mind.

The first is being self-dependent and realising that with your own powers anything can be achieved. As Confucius puts it – when you have the will you can move the mountains. The core of this thinking refers to the spirit of self-reliance, which preaches it is one thing if you want to sustain something, it is another thing if you know how to do it and it’s a third thing if you actually do it.

The second aspect is being co-dependent in reaching the end result of sustainability, since the knowledge and diversity of people can help achieve greater things and go beyond infinity. It is like being all for one and one for all. Whether the initiative to become sustainable derives from oneself or from NGO’s, businesses or governments is really questionable. The green movement as we usually also speak of really tries to angle sustainability in the right direction but are we really achieving it? The question then becomes pseudo-science and we are left with many events and conferences trying to address the issue but are the end results of them valid?  Sustainability reporting has become the norm for companies to try and attach value and show off to the stakeholders that change is really happening and it may be…terms such as CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), Cradle to Cradle, and many other synonymous terms only make us drown in information but still struggle to make sense.

Lastly, time is always of great importance. Only through the progress of time we can sustain and develop. By taking time now and acting, society, environment and business can unite their efforts towards incorporating sustainability in our routine. When we fully realise that sustainability isn’t a nice to have but critical to our survival as human beings, then even our ego’s will start working for a solution. And act on it.

The guest blog is written by Martin Petrov, Project developer at Global Citizen