Until recently, when I heard the term "sustainability" I always associated it with "ecological sustainability" which is nothing but the ability for all organisms to thrive in a diverse environment and reproduce, thus maintaining their population on earth. But while interviewing one of my friends, I was made to realize that sustainability is not just "saving the environment" but made up of three pillars: social, environment and economic development and engulfs four interconnected domains, namely: ecology, economics, politics and culture. Simply put, it is something that improves quality of life for humans while also maintaining the surrounding eco-systems. Herman Daly, an economist says, "What use is a sawmill without a forest?" This quote excellently points out that perfect sustainability if not impossible, is difficult to achieve. Having a sawmill would mean more economy, but also downfall of trees hence jeopardizing ecological sustainability. Gain in one domain automatically leads to loss in the other domain. Thus, we humans, being the "most intelligent creatures on the planet" must do as much as we can to somewhat maintain a balance between all domains of sustainability.
I consider myself as someone with an identity crisis, a mix between sustainable and unsustainable. I am a victim (victim is hardly the right word) of consumerism, buying a lot of new stuff frequently, forgetting to carry my own grocery bag and ending up using several plastics, printing documents for convenience instead of going paperless, etc. etc.. But I also limit my red meat intake, refuse plastic for small items and to use the electric clothes dryer, chide at people for wasting food, etc etc.
Some of my friends though!! THEY are good examples to learn from - most of them have dedicated their lives (presently) to sustainability, meaning, their jobs make them follow the path of sustainable development. Outside their office too, they advocate the same principles and follow them. I asked five of them the same questions and you will find how each of them educate you about sustainability in the following posts.