10 Reasons Why Sustainability Is Important, Especially in 2022
Conversations around climate change and our environment have been raising in frequency — as they are major issues across the globe.
Every day, air and water temperatures continue to rise, toxic gases are emitted into the atmosphere, and ecosystems are being destroyed by pollution.
Sustainable practices and initiatives can help slow and reverse the damage of human consumption on our planet.
But what does this mean? Why is sustainability important, especially now? Bite is here with everything you need to know about environmental protection in 2022.
What Is Sustainability?
Sustainability is the practice of creating conditions that promote and maintain harmony between humans and the natural environment so that we can collect vital resources without compromising the integrity of ecosystems — or the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Sustainability is crucial on both a corporate and individual level. There are many sustainability initiatives that both corporations and individuals can take to help keep our ecosystems healthy, which will, in turn, keep our planet healthy.
What Does Sustainability Entail?
Quite often, sustainability as a long-term responsibility is largely placed on the consumer.
Yes, individuals do have an impact on climate change and the environment, yet just 100 energy companies are responsible for 71 percent of the industrial emissions that impact air quality. This means corporations have a massive responsibility, too.
Fortunately, practical steps can be taken on both a corporate and individual level to bring these alarming numbers down.
Enacted in 1976, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act was put in place to allow the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to control hazardous waste that contributes to the destruction of ecosystems that provide basic resources.
With this act, the EPA puts forth federal, state, and local regulations.
In the RCRA are several programs that represent different types of waste that contribute to the deterioration of the environment and the destruction of our ecosystems. For example, the solid waste program sets initiatives to prohibit the open dumping of waste and outline criteria for waste disposal facilities.
Using Less Energy
A lot of the energy used to generate resources like electricity is made possible by fossil fuels.
Fossil fuels are burned to generate electricity, and the issue with this is that it emits carbon dioxide, a major contributor to the climate crisis.
Reducing energy consumption helps reduce the need for fossil fuels, thus helping to slow climate change.
On an individual level, this can look like reducing our water and electricity usage. Simple changes like taking shorter showers, using cold water to do laundry, and using energy-efficient light bulbs are great ways to use less energy for a more sustainable future.
Reducing energy on an individual level creates a ripple effect because electricity and water companies will have less of a demand for these resources, reducing energy use on a corporate level.
Recycling and Reusing
Recycling items like paper and plastic helps these materials stay out of landfills. Reusing old items for a new purpose can help reduce the negative impact of waste on a personal level.
In 2017, only 94.2 million tons of waste was recycled out of the 267.8 million tons total in the US. Reusing old items, regardless of whether they are recyclable, can make a meaningful impact.
Recycling is important not only for reducing waste but also for creating jobs. The EPA conducted a study in 2016 on the economic benefits of recycling and reusing. These actions helped create 681,000 jobs and $37.8 billion in wages.
Recycling and reusing seem like simple tasks, but they can add up to major changes for the economy and the environment.
Being Conscious of Your Impact
It is important to be aware of your impact on the environment. Your carbon footprint measures how much greenhouse gas you emit in your everyday activities and consumption habits.
Several carbon calculator resources online allow you to measure your carbon footprint, and doing so can help you evaluate your impact on the environment and motivate you to begin sustainability practices.
What Are the Three Pillars of Sustainability?
There are three pillars of sustainability that refer to main areas in which sustainability can be achieved.
These different definitions of sustainability also interact in both positive and negative ways, and understanding the intersectionality of these sustainability pillars can provide you with a bigger picture understanding.
The environmental pillar of sustainability involves initiatives to protect and improve the quality and integrity of resources and ecosystems. We can work towards environmental sustainability by reducing toxic chemicals and waste in water systems like rivers, lakes, and oceans.
The social pillar of sustainability involves actions like education, participation, and awareness for environmental justice.
Education is crucial because it provides the information and perspective that drives action towards preserving the environment.
Social sustainability also involves stakeholders, who are individuals and parties that affect the decisions made regarding the environment. Businesses and government representatives are examples of these stakeholders.
Environmental stakeholders can either have a beneficial or damaging influence on actions taken towards sustainability.
Getting involved in local and state elections is crucial because we have the power to elect passionate officials who will take action towards a more sustainable future.
The economic pillar of sustainability involves cost-effective strategies that promote action towards preserving the environment.
Placing incentives for sustainable practices and sustainable development as well as improving supply and demand are both ways in which we can achieve economic stability.
Economic sustainability places emphasis on corporate social responsibility, acknowledging the environmental impact of business processes. Economic development is crucial for social development, but we must ensure that in both areas, we are pushing to implement cleaner practices.
Why Is Sustainability Important in 2022?
Sustainability is crucial, especially in 2022, because now, more than ever, we are seeing drastic and alarming changes to the environment. We have experienced 19 of the warmest years since 2000, carbon dioxide levels are at their highest in 650,000 years, and the ocean has had the warmest temperatures on record in the past 20 years.
These numbers can be frightening, and they serve as an effective wake-up call. Here at Bite, we value sustainable solutions both on an individual and corporate level. That’s why we strive for the utmost transparency when it comes to what we do to contribute to a greener planet.
Sustainability today is crucial for a healthy planet tomorrow, and these are just a few reasons why.
1. Ozone Layer Deterioration
The ozone layer acts as a layer of protection from the sun’s UV rays. Unfortunately, chemicals like CFCs found in aerosol cans, those containing hairspray or spray sunscreen, can cause holes in our ozone layer.
The more the ozone layer weakens, the more we are exposed to harmful exposure to UVB rays.
Sunlight is great for plants and gives us vitamin D to absorb, but too much of it can cause harm. Overexposure to UVB rays can lead to skin cancer and cataracts, and can cause harm to plant growth and ocean ecosystems by damaging the early developmental stages of sea life.
2. Climate Change
Carbon dioxide causes a rise in water temperature, thus driving climate change. In other words, carbon emissions are the main reason why ice caps are melting and ocean temperatures are rising.
Practicing sustainability by reducing your carbon footprint and engaging in social sustainability by electing officials that will take action against climate change is crucial to reducing our carbon emissions.
Toilet paper companies and industrial farming companies are significant contributors to deforestation.
The overwhelming demand for products from these companies has caused a mass occupation and mistreatment of land and ecosystems.
Not only are our forests home to various species and ecosystems, but those forests also help absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Deforestation destroys trees and thus eliminates both habitats and vital oxygen sources.
4. Resource Degradation
Overconsumption and harmful methods of obtaining natural resources has led to a dangerous depletion of these resources.
The three pillars of sustainability can help us create impactful solutions for replenishing these resources and restoring the ecosystems that produce them.
With the continuously growing number of single-use products, we produce more and more waste each year.
By recycling and reusing, we give a new purpose to our materials — and keep them out of landfills and oceans.
6. Ecosystem Harm
Because of overconsumption, large companies need ways to quickly extract resources to be turned into products and profit. The extraction of resources often happens through deforestation and water or air pollution.
When ecosystems are exposed to toxic chemicals or disrupted by human occupation, their habitats and resources become compromised. The development of sustainable practices is critical to the survival of forest, ocean, and freshwater ecosystems.
7. Future Generations
One of the goals of sustainability is to create a better earth for future generations by combatting the environmental consequences of actions taken now.
Human actions can drive harmful consequences for the environment — but we can also create beneficial results for the environment through sustainability. It is possible to meet the needs of the present without compromising the environment that our future generations will live in.
8. Quality of Life
The honest truth is that we only have one earth. Our planet contains beautiful and impressive ecosystems, and hurting these ecosystems does not have to be a reality.
Ecosystems provide resources and habitats for both humans and animals, and it is our responsibility to preserve their integrity. We have the power to make massive changes through the practice of sustainability, even through the smallest of steps — like switching our oral care products.
The small changes each of us make can add up to an immense difference.
The mass production of single-use products makes it easy to overconsume.
Here at Bite, we make waste reduction easy for you. We provide all-natural and effective oral care products that help preserve precious resources and eliminate the need for plastic — because personal care and environmental care work hand in hand.
From bamboo toothbrushes to natural toothpaste bits, we make sustainable oral care that is a win for both you and the environment.
10. Worker Conditions
The massive amount of toxic chemicals and waste produced as a result of resource extraction means workers are in danger of health risks associated with exposure to such chemicals.
Developing sustainability practices that reduce the emission of toxic chemicals and wastes can help provide better working conditions for people that work in waste management and, by default, reduce pollution.
The Bottom Line
The devastating reality of climate change and environmental damage is discouraging, but the continual development and progression of sustainable practices can help slow and reverse the damage that human consumption has on our earth.
Remember that simple actions like reducing your consumption and voting for officials that will fight the environmental crisis can make a lasting impact. We have the power to make a better life and earth for ourselves and our future generations, and that is something to celebrate!