Every day each one of us make decisions that have an impact on the environment, from our shopping choices and how we dispose of our household waste to our use of water, gas and electricity in our homes. With 7 billion people on the planet, we believe that individual actions are the most powerful force to bring positive environmental changes.
Our website is set-up to captivate the hearts and minds of people around the world to take action and adopt more sustainable choices every day, and by doing so become role models for sustainable living.
Our individual everyday sustainable choices could be seen as a drop in the However our combined efforts have the power of enormous waves that can bring positive changes for all of us. you can actively help the environment and become an inspiration to the people around you. You have the power to make our planet a greener and better place to live.
The Alliance for Global Sustainability is a partnership of four scientific and technological universities: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The University of Tokyo, Charmers University of Technology, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and their associated partners. It was formed in 1997 in the conviction that closer collaboration amongst some of the world's leading research institutions would lead to faster progress towards sustainability. .
Global Sustainability - A Brief Background
Technology has been a part of human history since mankind started developing tools and weapons directly from what their environment provided. Humankind has come a long way from bones, antlers, and rocks to factories, automobiles, and rocket ships. Each step technology took forward has diminished the natural environment and led to the deterioration of natural ecosystems.
Technology ultimately led us to find sources of energy that have vastly improved the quality of life for people. But it has come at a steep cost to the environment. The reliance major countries have on energy sources such as oil and coal have led to numerous negative consequences. The most obvious environmental impacts include the emissions and pollutants being dispersed into the atmosphere resulting in the greenhouse effect.
Technology is a tool developed by people and controlled by people. It can also be used to help reverse the negative impact it created. Environmentally sustainable systems can be designed and developed through new technologies.
The issue of bringing technology to the forefront of sustainability is complex and relies on the cooperation of the global culture. It must include the cooperation of numerous social factors such as academia, industry, politics, and civil society. It must also be incorporated on a global scale to include each and every country.
The United States and China need to lead the way in a collaborative effort to develop and integrate sustainable systems for energy, water, and transportation. These two countries are responsible for over 30 percent of the carbon and sulphur emission in the world. The use of fossil fuel and coal not only lead to air pollution they are both limited finite resources that will one day be completely depleted.
New technology for making use of sustainable energy will ultimately need to be developed in order to replace the use of limited resources. The issue is only now being addressed as a major concern on a global scale. The process of researching, developing, and implementing new technologies and design have long way to go. It will need the cooperation of various countries who must also meet the immediate needs of their populations.
This is especially true for their urban centres where the reliance on energy, water, and transportation is critical. Further cooperation will need to come from all sectors of society. Industries may need to retool in order to incorporate sustainable ways for product development.
The last hundred years much of the production has changed from the making of long lasting products to quickly consumable products. Compare for example the industries of furniture or piano manufacturing hundred years ago, products which are still being used a century later. How many of today's products are built in such a way? Most mobile phones, TV's, computers are built to last a few years and then to be thrown away. But there are exceptions, for example the development of LED lights which is a fast growing industry. Ultimately there will need to be a global consensus on how to balance energy needs, implement new technologies, and streamline the transition from finite resources to sustainable resources
Actions To Take To Support Global Sustainability
While the earth provides us with a variety of natural resources to help us live comfortably within our environment, these resources are not finite and humans will need to develop a better system for using these resources in order to prevent unnecessary strain on the environment. For instance, oil is one of earth’s most used resources but according to Jessica Williams, author of 50 Facts That Should Change The World, most of the world’s oil reserves could be consumed by 2040. Oil and other non-sustainable energies such coal, will need to be replaced by eco-friendly and sustainable technologies like wind or solar power in order to keep up with the global demand for energy that is mostly supplied by fossil fuels.
The transition from fossil fuels to more sustainable fuel sources is just one way the world can invest in sustainable energy. Each of us as individuals can also choose to lessen our own negative impact on the environment by making small changes to our everyday lifestyle and engaging in sustainable practices in terms of our food purchases, energy consumption and our use of natural resources like water.
Individually, we can each develop simple habits to become more sustainable in our own lives:
• Reconsider your consumption habits. Do you end up throwing away a lot of garbage? Is most of your garbage food waste? If it is, have you thought about composting your food waste? If you are currently throwing away items that can be recycled, start a recycling program in your household.
• Be conscious of the way you purchase foods. Try buying sustainable foods like locally grown fruits and vegetables that do not come in Styrofoam packaging. Or, try buying products with packaging made from recycled materials.
• When you purchase fruits and vegetables. Be sure to buy them from your local farmer’s market. Purchasing your produce from local vendors will help to support your local economy, reduce the number of trucks needed to transport produce across the country and may result in a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Within recent years, it seems as though everyone has been talking about climate change – from politicians and scientists to the media and various governing bodies. The term climate change refers to the long-term changes that occur within the earth’s environment. These changes include weather and wind patterns, ocean currents, solar radiation, continental drift and greenhouse gas emissions.
One of the most concerning impacts of climate change is the greenhouse effect, or the amounts of gaseous vapour such as carbon dioxide and other pollutants that get trapped in the earth's atmosphere. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 75% of the greenhouse gases that were released into the environment were a direct result of human activities, mainly the burning fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum and natural gas. Another major concern related to climate change deals with the melting of the polar ice caps and rising sea levels, which have increased coastal flooding throughout the world.
While most of us cannot eliminate the use of fossil fuels in our communities or prevent the further melting of the arctic ice shelf, we can make small changes in our daily activities that can lessen our impact on the environment:
Some of the more common examples of sustainable development practices are:
Solar and wind energy. Energy from these resources is limitless, meaning we have the ability to eliminate dependence on non-renewable power sources by harnessing power from renewable resources.
Sustainable construction. Homes, offices and other structures that incorporate recycled and renewable resources will be more energy efficient and stand the test of time.
Crop rotation. Many farmers and gardeners are using this method as a chemical free way to reduce diseases in the soil and increase growth potential of their crops.
Water fixtures. Water conservation is critical to sustainable development, and more and more products are available that use less water in the home, such as showers, toilets, dishwashers and laundry systems.
The world’s resources are finite, and growth that is unmanaged and unsustained will lead to increased poverty and decline of the environment. We owe it to future generations to explore lifestyles and paths of development that effectively balance progress with awareness of its environmental impact. In order to preserve the future, we must appreciate the interconnectedness between humans and nature at all levels. Sustainable development practices can help us do this, and through education and building awareness, preserving the future is within everyone’s reach.