Monday, October 31, 2016

What is Sustainability?

“Gandhi said it better than I could, ‘there’s enough in the world for everyone’s need but not everyone’s greed’."
            Dr. Derrick Lampkin, Assistant Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at UMD
"I'd say sustainability is the practice of consuming resources in such a manner as to minimize or, ideally, eliminate environmental harm and the depletion of said resource."
            Aaron Goldbeck, Bicycle Coordinator at UMD

“Business, agricultural, and manufacturing practices that seek to minimize both financial and environmental costs so that they may be continued perpetuity.”
            Cody Skinner, English Major at UMD 2017

“Keeping something at a state in which it can function.”
            Miqui Apicella, Special Education at UMD 2019

sustainability leaf icons
                 Sustainability is a common buzzword in the modern era yet its meaning is somewhat obscured. After asking some campus faculty and my peers, I found that sustainability’s most common synonym is “environmental policy”. Vaguely speaking, the comparison is valid. Most issues of sustainability, regardless of focus, are centered on resource allocation and preservation. There are three pillars of sustainability: social, economic, and environmental (Berndston, Agriculture and Industrialization Lecture, 2015). Each one represents crucial factors that exist in daily life that make up the problems and solutions in sustainability. Despite that, sustainability is something that is growing in popularity in careers and conversation, but is still far in the background. Education in, and awareness of, sustainability is lacking.

On the University of Maryland campus, sustainability topics are limited to a handful of courses and student-groups. The Sustainability Task Force (STF) is one such group, situated in the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSOS), that seeks to educate and disseminate sustainable ideas throughout the different populations of campus, including students, faculty, and staff. Building on a holistic idea of sustainability, the STF recognizes that sustainability is achieved through a variety of pathways, and uses its interdisciplinary membership to spread sustainable ideas throughout BSOS, campus, and more.

Author: Isaac Zhodzishsky