What is sustainability?
It’s a complex idea, but can basically be met by covering two simple points.
“Does it meet the needs of the current population?”
“Does it in any way impede the meeting of future populations’ needs?”
If the answer to both is yes, then it is not a sustainable idea. Fossil fuels are a good example. Our needs are met, but future generations will not be able to depend on this, limited, resource. Also, burning (and spilling) those fuels contributes to environmental damage that can result in air, water and soil issues our grandchildren will be stuck with.
If the answer to both is no, then I’m not sure what the point of the idea is, but at least it won’t do harm.
If the answer to the first is yes, but to the second is no, then you’ve got yourself a sustainable idea. An example would be solar power. The sun isn’t going to run out of power no matter how much we might harvest. So, we can use all we like, decreasing our dependence on other forms of fuel and have zero impact on our children’s children.
It is to be able to use natural resources in a conscious and responsible way. Not ending them forever or exceeding their capacity of renewal. At the same time, making sure that future generations have access to them. It produces goods and services from our resources at a pace that would not end them forever and also not producing more pollutants than those that the environment can absorb without being harmed.
An example of something that is not sustainable is economic activities based on the use of crude oil, since it is a natural resource but nonrenewable and pollutes the environment. Sustainability considers economics (that we have a way to make money) and social aspects (that we have a good quality of life). Some examples would be: using energy from sources that never end like water, sun, wind, marine and geothermal. Making fabrics from natural and organic materials and the good old “reduce, reuse and recycle”.