There is often confusion by some people as to what “sustainability” means. Once, a few years ago, a local politician had asked me to define sustainability.
To be honest, I had a hard time articulating a definition. Environmentalists approach the topic broadly, as it encompasses many aspects of what it means to be a good steward of our natural resources.
When I think of sustainability I think of Melissa Everett and her work at Sustainable Hudson Valley. Her approach is big picture, and involves the much-needed task of mobilizing multiple efforts into a single purpose.
When I think of sustainability I also think of buying local foods, shopping locally and buying local goods and services. I also think of Community Supported Agriculture, local farmers, vineyards, and such.
This past week, though, I think I’ve found a clear, over-arching definition of the word. It is from a statement by Emilie Hauser to the planning board of Kingston in regard to the proposed CVS development on Washington Avenue. This is how she puts it:
“Sustainable communities direct their development for most efficient resource use and high quality of life. Sustainable development meets today’s needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. There is a huge need for all our towns and lives to be more sustainable. To do everything possible to cut down on green house gases. We must consider in all our decisions, in government, in personal lives, in our work lives, how we can make our communities more sustainable, and how we can mitigate and adapt to climate change. Everything we consider should be viewed from that lens.”
— Arthur Zaczkiewicz