Environmental sustainability is undeniably one of the most important issues currently facing mankind. It is now imperative that we establish and maintain a healthy environment, for both our own sake and that of upcoming generations. However, as the issue has regularly taken center stage amidst national debates on protocol and ideology, it has fallen victim to a variety of myths and misconceptions surrounding its purpose, practice, and overall identity.
I previously explored a few common sustainability myths. Here now are a few more myths, debunked.
“Every business can become sustainable”
This myth is not necessarily entirely false, as there are a variety of small ways a business — or any group or establishment — can contribute to sustainability (for example, cutting down on water and light use). However, in terms of broad business paradigms and structures, the reality is that some businesses are simply not suited for a sustainability makeover. In most cases, these businesses revolve around a product or service that is inherently unsustainable, and no matter how hard they try, they cannot undo this key part of their existence.
“Sustainability is just an endpoint”
A common trap in sustainability is to assume sustainable practices are a goal or destination — always in the distance as a lingering motivator that is addressed once and a while. Rather, genuine sustainability should be “a way of life” that is constantly present; this means keeping one’s self in tune with relevant trends, shifts in ideology, and breakthroughs in research that may change expectations moving forward.
“Sustainability can equate to profitability”
By assuming that a profit can be turned through sustainable living, one falls into another common trap: trivializing both the overall purpose of sustainability and the motivation of those committed to it. Financial benefits, in most cases, should not stand as the first and/or main driving force behind a sustainable initiative. Instead, many sustainable individuals are intrinsically motivated by the desire to see their planet thrive — for the benefit of all living organisms.