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Alexa Yonan, Morgan Gleason, Terry Howard University of Detroit Mercy

Sustainability: Finding a Balance

Evidence suggests that as time goes on, the sustainability of the environment is more and more at risk. At the planetary level, there are limits to material development and resources, both renewable and non-renewable. A growing population means higher consumption, and therefore, we may be reaching those planetary limits. As stewards of this planet, we must learn how to make use of the earth’s natural resources in a way that ensures sustainability for the future. Something to consider when thinking about sustainability is that there are environmental consequences for all development activities. This realization is why companies are creating teams internally that focus on developing and using products that minimize the harm to the environment. Much of the success in development evolved from understanding how ecological processes work and adapting them to benefit people. To be as sustainable as possible, we must still respect the environmental balance of the planet because effects on ecosystems can have widespread, unpredictable repercussions. Understanding ecology is crucial when balancing economic, ecological, and social factors within the development of sustainability. As we address the state of our environment and its changes, we must understand that sustainability requires necessary changes in our overall attitude toward nature. While the environment is at the top of the list for sustainability, our economic system is as well. As the wealthy become wealthier, extreme poverty increases for the poor. The preoccupation of economists on economic growth hinders them from realizing it is driving us up against our planetary limits. People and governments of high wealth are encouraged to take a step back and recognize the persistent poor conditions among the masses of the people of the world. Our society must develop new economic models that recognize the community and provides meaningful employment that will help rid the globe of global poverty. These new models must address a balance across the world between laborers and capitalists.