Define ‘Sustainability’

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

2 thoughts on “Define ‘Sustainability’”

  1. Emily Hauser truly put “sustainablilty” in a nut shell – while we are all “watering” that garden ~ it is in want & need of fertilizer……..

    My, condolences to James Sottile, our Mayor, I read of his dad’s passing this evening when I picked up my Kingston Times. As mom always said: Only one time that we go to sleep ~ when we awaken in our future mother-to-be.

    Back to Sustainable; it was mentioned that we should ‘go slow’; had we gone ‘slow’ 45 years ago, we would not be PROUDLY saying that we NOW have the ability to finally say that we too are becomming American’s, in the United States & not merely members of this country with no name in the America’s. President elect Barac Obama has brought us to the Beginning that our fore father’s & our First Gov. envisioned: A proud nation Knowing what paths NOT to take. In 1812 his body died & Washington DC was leveled, by suprise, really!

    “Sustainable” comes with a serious price: You must be TIRED OF FEELING tired & ILL…. You must want to reduce your sickness care costs… Not one from this area has ever asked the question: “Why Kingston a Pesticide Free Zone” and the other question, “Why Kingston an environmentally friendly built community, city, first capital of this Royal Dutch Empire of the America’s. What are we loosing by taking this oxyimoranic path?

    Hi Rebecca,
    Thank you for making that seat availble for me, I truly had a fantabulously magidical evening & night-time came with a fleeting moment @ the strike of 12:00 entering Ecologically, environmentally Dawning Zone of huemanity….. Their music ~ such beautiful sound waves dawning access to our body’s brain & new “sustainable” horizon’s.

    Yes, ecological, environmental History begins after a long, loong, looong start/pregnancy in Ulster County, USA……..

    Hope I’m not booted from this group to…….

    Philip Gurrieri

  2. Yes…the concert was fantastic and it was great to be among neighbors.

    Let’s work to get one public park a pesticide free zone. Then we will get all the parks in the city. And from there, we can get all of Kingston, and so forth.

    Philip: let’s work to mobilize like-minded folks who understand how harmful pesticides are to humans and animals, and lobby for change.


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