Understanding Sustainability and Sustainable Living

“Sustainability” has now become a buzzword. A buzzword with so much power that it has even encouraged global leaders and activists to push for a change that could greatly benefit the larger public. In the broadest sense, sustainability can be referred to as the ultimate solution that will allow individuals to meet their own needs without compromising on the resources that should be left for future generations. 

Divided into three core pillars – environmental, social, and economic – that all play a huge role in bringing about “true sustainability”, it is clear to see that this society goal is one that concerns things beyond environmentalism. Concerning aspects of everyday life such as social equity and economic development, sustainability is the multi-dimensional concept that will protect our ecosystem and preserve natural resources for all in the long run. A holistic approach that will ensure that the natural systems remain functional for years to come, it necessitates the adoption of personal sustainable practices as well as the consideration by the corporate world to make ‘green’ changes for everything from manufacturing to customer services.  

Indonesia’s Sustainable Transformation

Dating as far back as 2017, Indonesia declared its goal of integrating low-carbon, green growth into its national development strategy. Besides these past initiatives, the Indonesian government has also been actively updating its Nationally Determined Contribution – most recently, in late 2021, it was stated that the country is determined to reach net-zero emissions by 2060, and is committed to halting and reversing deforestation.

However, this will not be an easy feat. As the world’s fourth-most populous country, individual efforts are just as important in achieving the goals put forth by the global sustainable living and zero-waste movement. The importance of personal responsibility can be further emphasised by the fact there has been an increase in motor vehicle traffic and a heavier reliance on coal-burning. Such changes and heavy reliance on things that have a negative impact on the environment have been so drastic that approximately 60% of Jakarta residents now suffer from air pollution-related diseases.

From the hurdles the government will have to overcome to the current consequences locals have to face, these demonstrate that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to saving the Earth and future generations. For sustainability to become a reality, everyone, and every organisation must play their part.

What is Sustainable Living?

When it boils down to what individuals can do, adopting sustainable practices is a must. Sustainable living is a lifestyle, and it is a way of living that is aimed at reducing one’s environmental impact. Sustainable living focuses on four main pillars – minimising waste, limiting the use of Earth’s natural resources, the wise use of the environment, and ensuring quality living environments. Doing all that one can to ensure the success in these aspects alone will improve air quality, conserve natural resources, improve community health, prepare sustainability-minded communities for growth, maintain resources for future generations, slow climate change, assist economic development, and a whole lot more.

What Does Sustainable Living Look Like?

The above-mentioned pillars can be used as guiding principles to forge an initiative or way of life that makes sustainable and stable living a reality. This is especially so since sustainable living can look as simple as making the choice to change how you eat and how much electricity you use. Other sustainable living habits that green enthusiasts tend to have include buying local and in-season foods, eating less meat, and buying items made from recycled materials.

Relaying her own methods to lead a sustainable life, Liwa Supriyanti explains, “While organisation-wide action plans are implemented by Gunung Prisma, I myself have embarked on a journey to sustainable living. By being aware of how my daily decisions can affect our planet’s health, I’ve come to slowly develop healthier habits. From recycling to eating with the environment in mind, I believe that it is important to live within our means as humanity.”

Developing a More Sustainable Path

While the motivation behind sustainability can be complex to many, it is undoubtedly a personal and diverse journey that requires many ups and downs and constant acclimatisation. As a value, sustainability is one shared by individuals and organisations that demonstrate it through their policies, everyday activities, behaviours, and daily choices.

With a primary responsibility to deliver sustainable economic growth, social development and environmental protection in a responsible manner, Gunung Prisma has led many green initiatives. Adding to this, Liwa states “It cannot be denied that every individual has done their part in developing our current environmental and social circumstances. Therefore, it is crucial for the people of today and those of future generations to create innovative solutions, adapt to the changes, and do their part by leading a sustainable life.”