Four Sustainability Principles
The word 'sustainable' is used in many different contexts.
Sustainable development, as defined by the Brundtland Commission (1987) is "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs".
The principles defined by The Natural Step to implement sustainable development are:
- Reduce and eventually eliminate our contribution to the systematic accumulation of materials from the earth's crust;
- Reduce and eliminate our contribution to the systematic accumulation of substances produced by society;
- Reduce and eliminate our contribution to the ongoing physical degradation of nature; and
- Reduce and eliminate our contribution to conditions that systematically undermine people's ability to meet their basic needs (including social aspects).
Reduce, Re-use, Recycle
Another concept that we use in our decision making process is the well known "Reduce, Re-use and Recycle". And then of course there are factors such as durability, embodied energy, performance and cost that need to be taken into account when making decisions.
We know we cannot be perfect. As soon we start there will be an impact: on the environment (consuming/transporting materials) and on the community and neighbours (shading, noise, etc). However, we try to consider all aspects of sustainability and make the best choice for the long term. This means considering longevity & embodied energy of materials, biodegradability, renewable materials, performance, waste, cost, transport, as well as social, health and safety aspects. For us it is important to have a long term vision and make small steps right now to move towards a sustainable community.
"Be the change you want to see in the world."