Beyond Environmental - Sustainability and the Human Touch

Beyond Environmental - Sustainability and the Human Touch
Photo by Simon Berger / Unsplash

There are 17 UN Sustainability Goals. Most people focus on the climate portion of these goals. Most of the goals cover the human element.

Why Is Sustainability Important?

Sustainability is not just about doing your part to make this planet better for future generations, but it’s also about increasing the quality of life for those around us.

We can do this by implementing fair trade practices in companies that are based in developing countries, where employees are paid fairly and given benefits that help their families back home without being exploited. These practices can help bring countries out of poverty and it’s something that we have a historical precedence for. In recent history, places like South Korea and Malaysia could rise economically with the help of fair trade practices in their goods.

It’s also important for us to make sure our food is ethically sourced. Buying locally is one way we can do this, which ensures that it has not traveled across the world using excess resources to get here. It also creates jobs that keep people in these areas employed instead of moving to urban centers where they are exploited by larger companies with unfair wages and benefits packages. This then helps build better communities in rural areas with stronger economies.

How does sustainability relate to human life?

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is an initiative by United Nations member states, designating a set of global development targets for the year 2030. In short, these goals are improving health and education, reducing poverty and inequality, strengthening economic growth and fostering sustainable consumption worldwide.

UN Sustainable Development Goals

The climate aspect of this is to affect a global scale, through a global thermostat. The human element focuses on affecting each life positively. These include the economic, political and social aspects of sustainable development.

These goals are not global government by any means. They have no enforcement power over sovereign states, but it’s merely a guide to create policies in their own countries to reach these specific global development targets.

What are the 3 types of sustainability?

There are 3 types of sustainability that will play a role in the human element. These include ecological, economical and social elements and the planetary scale.

Ecological - This is more than just living off the land without harming it. This means considering carbon footprints of products we use every day, recycling our garbage into reusable materials and recycling our human waste into reusable water and energy sources.

Economic - This does not mean that we need to keep the economy strong at all costs. It means using sustainable practices to produce goods for consumption as well as donating to organizations aimed at empowering those in poverty.

Social/Political - The focus is “full involvement of people and their communities in developing and managing the policies and programmes that affect their lives.”

How can sustainability be achieved?

One of the key problems with this is that it conflicts with globalization. Globalization involves the adding of more resources to areas that are not sustainable, in order to become more attractive for business. This then creates famine where people cannot afford enough food for their families. Another problem is that we have already allocated some of the best land in the world to industrial farming, which creates methane emissions from cow flatulence. This is something that needs to be considered when trying to reach sustainable goals on a local or global scale.

How can I make an impact?

Sustainable living is not just being aware of your carbon footprint, but also doing something about it. You should take the time to look at the products you use every day and any waste you produce. Attempt to switch off lights when you are not using them, recycle as much as possible. When shopping, try to buy items that have less packaging or are packaged responsibly, such as with biodegradable or recycled materials. Donate to charities that can change the lives of people in need. Look into buying goods from countries that have weaker economies and provide it at a fair price, meaning without using child labor or taking advantage of employees, for example.

You can also purchase products from companies that are socially responsible. There are many products like this on the market, but always do your research on them before buying to make sure you are actually getting something worthy of your money.

How can we track our sustainable methods?

You can track these efforts on a blockchain. You can take 2 - 3 of the goals and go more in depth on how they apply. For example, the ecological aspect is tracked with blockchain technology using carbon credits or production of renewable energy. We can track the economic aspect through blockchain distributed ledger technology, along with the social and political aspects. Tracking each one on a unique blockchain would create an indisputable record of sustainable development, as well as providing incentives for those seeking to be part of it.

What does this mean for climate?

This means that there needs to be a change in mindset from many people and governments around the world. We need to make more responsible decisions about how we produce goods and how we use our environment, whether it’s the air we breathe, water we drink, or food grown from our earth. It should not be taken advantage of for capitalism either. As stated earlier, sustainable living is about considering everything we do to be interconnected. This should not just apply to people’s lifestyles but also to how companies operate as well as governments’ policies and regulations.

How can blockchain be used?

Blockchain could allow for this change of mindset by creating an incentive based system where those who are making a difference are rewarded for their efforts. The ledger would act as proof of these activities, which would give incentives to take part. These activities could simply be monitored through smart contracts or tokens (like carbon credits) awarded for certain activities taking place on the blockchain. I think it would be important to include government regulation in this process to ensure authenticity and transparency between countries. There needs to be international standards set in order for sustainable development to take place. This would be unrealistic if everyone is not included.

Photo by Fritz Bielmeier on Unsplash

What are some roadblocks?

There are obviously multiple factors that come into play with any issue, let alone one as complex as this. As mentioned before, people need to be more motivated to change their habits and governments need to cooperate with each other rather than against one another. Another problem is that many people are too busy day-to-day trying to make ends meet to think about the bigger picture. People will only care once they feel affected by climate change or lack of resources, so if we can somehow accurately predict these problems beforehand then I believe many people will cooperate willingly. It’s better than feeling like there’s no other option.

What is the key message you are trying to get across?

The key message I want people to know is that sustainable development should be a priority for everyone, not just governments and companies. It needs to start with us! Slight changes can make a larger difference in the future when we consider our earth rather than separate nations fighting over resources. We all share this planet and it’s time that we started working together rather than against one another.

In conclusion, sustainable development is possible if there is a genuine change from both an individual and governmental standpoint in order to connect the social, political and ecological aspects of society onto a single blockchain ledger where each transaction can be recorded transparently and immutably. People need to be motivated and governments need to cooperate with each other in order for the change of mindset needed for sustainable development to take place.