What is Sustainability?
Green this, green that, sustainability, recycle, global-warming, ice-melts, polar bears—do you ever feel that you’re just sick of hearing about all these things? Of course then you feel guilty for not being “green” but just what does all this mean? So many terms, so little time.
Is being green sustainable? Is sustainability the same has recycling?
I know that for a while I just could not tell the difference between recycling and being sustainable. I was just unclear whether these two things were the same concept just using different terminology or two separate practices. I came to be under the impression that sustainability had to do with farming and food and that was about it. Recycling was, well, recycling.
And don’t forget we were being told that all of this had some strange effect on the earth’s temperature and was causing the arctic ice to melt and the oceans to rise and since I was living at about 12 feet above sea level at that time, I figured my house would be under water before you knew it. Maybe that’s why I moved to the mountains at 5,000 feet above sea level.
Sustainability isn’t just about growing food or climate change; it’s also about managing our resources. You see if we’re not managing our resources a little bit more responsibility there isn’t going to be many resources left to manage. Sustainable living is really about trying not to deplete the earth of everything; it’s about leaving the world a better place for future generations.
What does all this have to do with your printing operation? Well, how you run your shop, how you produce your work from start to finish has a pretty significant impact on the environment. And it’s not just whether you’re recycling or not. You would be surprised at what you can do to become more sustainable.
Tom recently ventured out on his own and is now president of TNT Sustainable Business Solutions, a consulting firm that promotes and provides services for creating sustainable business practices, measuring and improving print shop effectiveness, and sustainability marketing. He is currently enrolled in the University of Colorado's Professional Studies program and is working towards earning certification in Sustainability Management.