Why Sustainability Is Important — for the Earth and for Our Children

Realizing the interconnectedness between the planet and those who inhabit it can be a life-changing epiphany.

Jamie Bichelman - Author

Jun. 25 2024, Published 10:24 a.m. ET

Two women prepare to compost food scraps on a patio.
Source: iStock

What is sustainability at its core, and why is it so important? Sustaining our planet — including humanity, wildlife, and so much more — is one of the most vital tasks of our generation.

Article continues below advertisement

Let's explore what sustainability means, and identify the many ways through which sustainability — whether it's sustainable living practices or sustainability on a larger scale — can positively affect our present and future.

Two smiling friends display their reusable water bottles during a walk in Central Park in New York City.
Source: iStock
Article continues below advertisement

What is sustainability?

Environmental sustainability can be defined as "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs," according to the UN.

Sustainability can also be seen as "the realization that humans are a part of nature, and finding ways to nurture that connection so both people and the planet can thrive," Ariana Storniolo, the founder of the Greenify Me blog and author of the ebook 10 Ways to Reduce Trash, tells Green Matters exclusively via email.

"This is important because living sustainably can help us fight climate change," she adds.

Since individuals can't directly control what governments and corporations do, many climate-conscious individuals turn to sustainable living practices.

"When we live a sustainable lifestyle, we must always remember that individual and collective action are equally important: Not mutually exclusive," she tells Green Matters.

Article continues below advertisement

In practice, advocating for sustainable changes can take on many forms for each person. This includes exploring ways to reduce our environmental footprint while advocating for the government and corporations to take climate action, Storniolo says.

Article continues below advertisement

"That can look like so many things, from reducing the amount of single-use plastic in our lives, to attending a climate march," she tells Green Matters. "What's most important is doing your best and starting conversations with others about this topic. We don't have to be perfect environmentalists to make a difference. Doing our best is what matters!"

Below, we're walking you through a few reasons why sustainability is important for our planet.

Future generations depend on our sustainable practices today.

Community members of different ethnic backgrounds smile as they work together to plant a tree in a park.
Source: iStock

Without a priority placed on sustainable practices, we cannot preserve natural resources like water and air for future generations. Planting a tree today means future generations can benefit in a multitude of ways.

A lack of a sustainable ethos means resources like forests will continue to be depleted, animals will continue being consumed by humans in massive quantities, and other destructive practices will ruin the planet for future inhabitants.

Article continues below advertisement

Our economic vitality depends on widespread adoption of sustainable practices.

A project manager, symbolically wearing green, discusses sustainable corporate practices in a meeting.
Source: iStock

As UCLA Sustainability explains, sustainable practices acknowledge that some resources are finite. In order for future generations to enjoy flourishing communities and economic stability, sustainable development practices must be employed to serve the needs of those living in the present without corrupting the future for the next generation.

The future of animals on Earth depends on humans adopting sustainable methods.

Animals are not ours to be consumed or used, and following a vegan lifestyle is one of the best ways to be a more environmentally sustainable human.

As The Good Tee blog explains, animals depend on us to make sustainable choices that directly and indirectly affect their well-being. We must avoid the use of pollutive chemicals, drilling fossil fuels, and other activities that harm wildlife and animal habitats. Deforestation likewise irreparably damages the homes of many animals, as does littered trash that can kill animals or severely endanger them.

Our short- and long-term health demands sustainable living.

A family of four rides bicycles together through the park.
Source: iStock

The global reliance on fossil fuels (for gas-powered cars, electricity, industries, aviation, and so much more) is unfathomable. Burning fossil fuels doesn't simply "cause global warming" — it's also polluting our communities and killing people. The transition away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy is vital.

More from Green Matters

Latest Climate Action News and Updates

    Opt-out of personalized ads

    © Copyright 2024 Green Matters. Green Matters is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.