This is not another long note on saving the environment. Its rather about learning and cultivating the habit of doing things correctly. You may ask, “who determines what is right from wrong?” I bet we all know when things are done rightly or wrongly, we just choose to follow our desires. The question however, is how long can we continue to follow our desires blindly? The world was not designed to operate in such manner. There is a lot of interdependence in nature that we have to acknowledge and respect else we face the consequences.
Lets start from our individual lives. We all want to live well, enjoy the good things life has to offer, the luxuries and stuff but have ever thought for a second how a lot of the things we enjoy are produced? The communities that are affected by the detrimental effects of some the activities involved? That is just one part. We consume a lot of materials as humans – food, clothes, water, furniture to name few. Not bad at all but if you are a Nigerian living in one of the suburbs where sometimes you do not have access to electricity to pump water into your home, you would understand the value of having so much water. We are a very wasteful species as humans. We waste water, food, clothes, land space and other raw materials. It is always a bad sight to see well-dressed educated individuals toss things out of their car windows on to the streets. Imagine if 20 million people living in Lagos tossed dirt on the road, would we have access to those roads by the next day? NO.
Lets move on to businesses. I was speaking with a couple of young business owners over the weekend and they could not even bear the thought of listening to another “sustainability” sermon. Individuals run businesses and most times the values we hold true to ourselves reflect in the way we run our businesses. For a very long time, when I hear people talk about focusing on the bottom line in business, that bottom line was and is still in many cases money/profits. Honestly, its not out of place to want to continuously make money from a business but when you are destroying something and making life difficult for some people, then it becomes a big problem.
As humans, we depend on some resources to live our lives well enough likewise as businesses, we depend on certain resources to make products, transport them and run our facilities. If these resources are not given the required attention, we will run out of supplies as humans and run out of business as business owners. Let this sink. You can read the last sentence again if you want. These resources are not provided by money. We only acquire them by money because we need to exchange our access to these resources for some fiscal tool which in many cases is money. Imagine a world where we no longer have access to food, will we eat money? Imagine we no longer had access to potable water, will we drink money?
This is why we need to start shifting the focus from just money and include these resources we depend on – our environment, our communities and our people. That is what the triple bottom line of sustainability is all about. This is just a summary to make the concept of sustainability less scary. We need to see it as a means of empowering us to live life at its fullest – all of us. No one has to suffer because another wants to enjoy some perceived luxuries. Its about innovating so we can solve a lot of the problems we have found ourselves in.
We can achieve so much if we focused on looking out for one another – as individuals, neighborhoods, towns, cities, provinces, states and countries.
The world has so much to go round.