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The Earth is an interconnected ecosystem which evolved as a closed-loop. Plants use sun energy, water and the earth’s carbon and nutrients to grow. Animals and humans consume plants and other animals, ideally returning those nutrients to the soil for consumption by bacteria and plants, feeding the circle of life.
Every contributor to the system has an impact. When it’s in balance, it makes use of everything we are and do, as one sustainable system. Out of balance, the impact can change our way of life.
"Sustainability" means living in productive harmony with the natural environment so that our needs are balanced with the environment’s long-term health. Living "sustainably" provides enough for today and sets the stage for future generations to thrive, not merely endure.
To practice “sustainability” we must explore and support a balance between economic and environmental needs and social fairness, in a dynamically changing world.
Check here to find out how you participate in sustainability:
Humans emit carbon with every breath. Plants and the oceans absorb that carbon, and in a balanced system, keep emissions in check. Today, carbon emissions into the atmosphere outstrip the ability of natural ecosystems to absorb them. Almost everything we do contributes. The impacts of an unbalanced system are well known. But what can you do?
Become aware. Check your personal carbon emissions and see how you impact the system.
Businesses are big carbon emitters. The energy which powers building heating, air conditioning, lighting and distribution practices contribute heavily to carbon dioxide emissions around the world. Smart business leaders recognize their impact and make considerable efforts to reduce carbon footprints through such activities as using natural lighting, reducing staff travel through video conferencing and most impactful, conducting a building re-commissioning study to identify areas of energy efficiency which will help the business save money while reducing emissions.
Choose a carbon footprint calculator and see how you can help your business reduce emissions and improve the bottom line.
Water is a precious resource. Up to 77% of our bodies are made of water. Unfortunately, over 97.5% of all water on Earth is undrinkable because it's salt water. Only 2.5% of the world’s water is fresh. According to the United Nations, consumption of water is rising and water scarcity already affects 40% of the people on the planet. In the future, as global climate change advances, weather patterns will shift, exposing a wider geographic area to drought and water stress, causing unsanitary conditions, disease, food scarcity, and threaten industry, ecosystems and worldwide security. 1
Conserving water is the only way to address these challenges.
Human trash and waste challenge the natural ecosystem by detracting from it, as opposed to contributing through natural decay. There are many ways to conscientiously divert, recycle and return waste to the earth in order to build it, feed it and replenish it so future generations may enjoy the same biodiversity and potential we enjoy today.
Recycling, reuse and composting are three powerful ways you can give back and conserve for a better future.
If you’re already aware of your impact on the environment, you will find that starting on a path to sustainability isn’t difficult. In fact, by changing your behavior in small ways, you can save money and protect the environment, too.
According to EnergyStar.gov, if every American home replaces just 1 light bulb with an Energy Star qualified bulb, the U.S. would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes per year, and prevent emission of the greenhouse gas equivalent of 800,000 cars.
10 simple ways to support a balance between your economic and the environment’s needs every single day:
Once you get started saving on utility bills, you’ll be ready for larger steps toward efficiency.
Roosevelt University offers two bachelor’s degree programs in Sustainability Studies—a 120 semester hour program and a Flex-Track Program for students older than 24 years.