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Sustainability generally refers to the idea of making the most out of what is available, reducing unnecessary waste and promoting the wellness of an environment and those within it. Presently, sustainability is used in tandem with more efficient and environmentally-conscious practices. When looking to make large-scale changes for the sake of sustainability, there are certain aspects individuals and governments must consider.

Because sustainability is not a standardized practice or belief, there are many different attitudes and ideations pertaining to the concept. Still, there are numerous similarities across these varying beliefs, suggesting that there are certain things that must be considered in an effort to establish sustainable practices and models.

Three Pillars

There are three primary things upon which sustainability is built; these include society, the economy, and the environment. When implemented effectively, sustainability accounts for the health and prosperity of all of these things combined. For the most part, sustainability brings to mind ideas of environmentalism, but this is only one part of the concept. In order to achieve a sustainable lifestyle and civilization, natural resources, residents, and the economy must be nurtured and maintained.


Five Domains

Another conceptualization of sustainability highlights five domains that should be considered. These include material, social, economic, and spiritual aspects as well as the life forms within a biosphere. The material domain pertains explicitly to that which is required to maintain life, including but not limited to energy resources as well as food. The spiritual domain is related to ethics and law. At its core, the five domains described are interconnected and naturally affect one another, necessitating cooperation between them.

Sustainable Applications

Whether the intent of an individual or group is to implement sustainable practices into a civilization or an industry, certain principles must be considered in order to achieve lasting success. A sustainable city, for example, must take into account the well-being of its inhabitants as well as the production of essential supplies and resources in order to best satisfy the needs of each individual and the society as a whole. While many sustainable practices may be simple in theory, enacting global change can be challenging because of the many different principles, aspects, and intersections contained within sustainability.