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Sustainability in context of environment and does inequality has any effect on it?

What is the notion of sustainability in the context of environment? Has inequality any effect on sustainability? Please clarify.

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Question asked by heena_malla

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sanjaya profile image

Sustainability is the study of how natural system function and process everything it needs for the ecology to remain in balance. It is the capacity to improve the quality of human life and the ability to meet the needs of the present while living within the earth’s carrying capacity for supporting eco-systems. According to the environmentalist Paul Hawken, “Sustainability is about stabilizing the currently disruptive relationship between earth’s two most complex systems–human culture and the living world.”

Ekins (2011) in his journal "Progress in Physical Geography” stated that environmental sustainability is the maintenance of important environmental functions which make a significant contribution to human welfare. Environmental sustainability has become increasingly important to the consumer as environmental issues have become larger since the 1980s (Choi & Ng, 2011). We can carry out diverse environmental sustainability practices as the social and economic system and ecological conditions differ from one country to another. Accordingly, there are many forms which we can take to live more sustainably such as developing green technology and renewable energy, reappraising economic sectors like sustainable agriculture, green building and permaculture, reorganizing living conditions in the form of eco-municipalities, making eco-villages and sustainable cities, and making adjustments in individual lifestyle that conserve natural resources.

The world summit on social development identified three pillars of sustainability which are social development, economic development, and environmental protection. This three-pillar suggest that every person should have the satisfactory level of economic well-being, a clean healthy environment, and a robust level of social fulfillment. Environmental protection as the third pillar of sustainable development is regarded as the primary concern of the future of humanity. It explains to us how technology and biotechnology will drive our greener future and how we should protect our ecosystems and air quality.


Choi, S., & Ng, A. (2011, Dec). Environmental and Economic Dimensions of Sustainability and Price Effects on Consumer Responses. Journal of Business Ethics, 104 (2).

Ekins, P. (2011, Oct). Environmental sustainability: From environmental valuation to the sustainability gap. Progress in Physical Geography, 35 (5).

ujjwalpoudel profile image

Guell (2015), in their book Issues in Economics Today, sustainability requires that renewable natural resources be used only at a rate at which they can be replaced. This suggest limited natural resources be used as sparingly (in a small quantity) as possible. Therefore, with the growth, the preservation of natural resource is in concern of everyone. Today industrial estates are focusing on reducing the emission of carbon dioxide, packaging waste, water and their impact in the planet. The companies also found that being eco-friendly have a positive financial impacts. For instance, Walmart packaging is based on zero waste policy, where there is less packaging through supply and more packaging to be sourced from recycled or reused materials.

Environmental sustainability includes reducing on physical resources, recycle everything, use of renewable resources rather than non-renewable, eliminating toxic materials production, and restoration of natural habitats and environments. But, destruction of the living environments (habitats) of native species, discharge of polluting chemicals, and emission of greenhouses gases into the atmosphere, depletion of low cost oil and other fossil fuels are the serious issue caused by developed nation so far. The caused should be mitigated by the nations and its investing savings in ethical investments can help accelerate the creation of an environmentally-sustainable economy (Sutton, 2004). There are some examples has already been initiated by nations likes the world agreed to stop using the harmful gases, nearly all countries of the world have now switched to unleaded petrol, and reducing CO2 emissions.

To sum up, if the growth continues without environment sustainability then it is obvious that we will face scarcity of resource, pollution and extinction of animals in future. Hence, we need to protect the environment as our own property as we are the one to survive within this environment.


Guell, Robert C. (2015). Issues in Economics Today , 7th edition- 2015 ISBN: 978-0078021817

Sutton, P. (2004). A perspective on environmental sustainability . Paper on the Victorian Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability , 1-32.