The standard definition of sustainability:
Utilizing resources in a manner that will allow future generations to continue to capitalize on them.
This definition reflects one train of thought. The focus on capitalization of resources supports that sustainability is non-attainable because our purpose in life is not to consume finite resources. Our purpose in life is broader and therefore to be sustainable or to continue to develop in a sustainable manner requires that we consider other aspects important to our development as well.
I once again bring Maslow into the picture of sustainability.
As human beings we have physical, mental and emotional needs. Maslow shows us that as we further our development we can achieve higher levels of satisfaction. These needs begin as physical and primary but cannot diverge from the mental or the emotional needs. As our needs are met, we can say we leverage the ability to achieve higher levels of sophistication such as philanthropy and philosophy but this ability towards depth is present at every level. We are always free to give and to ponder.
The narrow definition of sustainability brings to mind a silk worm but our needs are greater than a life of consumism and production. I also remember the saying, “who ever dies with the most toys wins”, and I wonder why lack of fulfillment leads to the consumption of ongoing ‘solutions’ of instant satisfaction.
By understanding what sustainability truthfully entails we can begin to look at what we have not addressed to truly develop our life in a sustainable way.
With these thoughts in mind, a venture at defining sustainable development to include the creation (invention) and preparation (education) of resources (ideas and people) in the mental, physical and emotional realm (economic, environmental, and social) to allow for the proper utilization of natural or created resources (tangible and ‘intangible’) in a manner that will allow future generations to pursue and achieve happiness and quality of life for more people without exhausting the environment we live in and jeopardizing humanity.
With this definition, life purpose can focus on purposeful and incremental peace, enjoyment and sharing.
How do you see it?