Examples of environmental sustainability | SNHU – Advice Eating

Every year around the world, Earth Day on April 22nd is a time to bring people together to focus on a common goal: sustainability. According to the Earth Day website, the theme for 2022 is Invest in Our Planet. The nonprofit hopes to raise awareness of environmental sustainability and unite businesses, governments and citizens to create “a partnership for the planet,” according to the official website.

Some organizations prioritize environmental sustainability every day—not just on Earth Day. For example, institutions like Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) have established an Office of Sustainability to empower their students, staff and faculty to create a sustainable organization and culture.

What is the meaning of environmental sustainability?

The United Nations (UN) defines sustainability simply as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

“I like that definition,” he said Mike Weinstein, director of sustainability at SNHU. “It asks us to consider two things; First, what are “needs”? And second, what is life beyond ourselves?”.

Weinstein describes “needs” as clean water, healthy food, and stable housing, and points out that billions of people still don’t have access to any combination of these needs. According to Water, a global non-profit organization, about one in ten people, or 771 million people, lack access to clean water (Water PDF Source).

Looking at life beyond the present, it becomes clear that environmental sustainability involves a level of selflessness to also think about the people of the future.

Why is environmental sustainability important?

Environmental sustainability is important to conserving resources such as clean air, water and wildlife for future generations.

Another key definition of sustainability Weinstein likes is “ensuring that human society operates within ecological boundaries.” This definition is known as the Planetary Boundary (PB) concept. According to Science, an online research organization, it was introduced in 2009 to define where people can operate safely within the constraints of the environment. It is important to understand that people have limits and it is important to understand where those limits are in order to maintain sustainability.

Although most of the world is very disconnected from the basic workings of the planet, and according to Weinstein it’s easy to lose sight of essential factors. For example, humans are members of the earth and live in the same spaces as the rest of the living beings on the planet. “Our current economic activity ignores these limits,” Weinstein said.

One thing is clear: environmental sustainability is vital because human survival depends on it.

What can you do?

Mike Weinstein with the text Mike WeinsteinYou can install solar panels, use an electric car, ride a bike, or use other practices that minimize your economic footprint. Still, these can be costly, often more expensive than unsustainable solutions, Weinstein said. While cost doesn’t preclude these practices, there are other solutions you can pursue as well.

You can also focus on pressuring large systems to change. Weinstein said that SNHU has an Office of Sustainability because she is President of SNHU Paul LeBlanc and the university board of trustees and senior management understand that this is the right thing to do – and because SNHU staff, faculty and students have expressed an interest in university-wide engagement.

Across college campuses, there is a public outcry for change. According to Students Organizing for Sustainability (SOS) International (SOS PDF Source), 92% of college students agreed that their institutions should incorporate and promote sustainable development.

SNHU is able to bring principles of sustainability to its community because of its unique positioning through its global reach, with students and faculty on campus and around the world, Weinstein said.

How do you achieve environmental sustainability?

Environmental regulations come from organizations such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA has the power of Congress to write rules that result in the implementation of laws.

According to the EPA, these regulations are mandatory and may apply to:

  • company
  • individuals
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • State or local governments

These regulations create accountability, but they must be both strict and enforced, Weinstein said, if they are to be successful in creating environmental sustainability. The challenge, he said, is that the EPO is behind schedule and our current public infrastructures don’t create accountability. It may feel frustrating, but there are ways anyone can start making a difference.

So how can you contribute to sustainability? The UN offers 17 Sustainable Development Goals that serve as a path to a more sustainable future. These goals address global challenges such as:

  • Clean water and sanitation: For example, learning to avoid wasting water
  • climate protection: Act now to stop global warming
  • life under water: Avoiding the use of plastic bags to keep the oceans clean
  • life on land: Plant trees to protect the environment
  • Responsible consumption and production: Recycling items such as paper, plastic, glass and aluminum
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities: Cycling, walking or public transport

Sustainability goes beyond nature. “At the same time, we must recognize that oppressed communities are more affected by environmental degradation,” Weinstein said. You can’t achieve true sustainability, he said, until everyone has safe, healthy, and happy communities that function with future generations in mind.

Examples of sustainability at SNHU

SNHU’s Environmental Sustainability Roadmap has four main focus areas (PDF source):

  • academics: Creating a positive environment with opportunities for all learners to engage with sustainability.
  • commitment to the community: Promoting a culture of sustainability at all levels and recognition within local communities.
  • operations: The work behind the scenes where processes such as carbon neutrality are implemented to ensure day-to-day operations support sustainability.
  • planning and management: Organization and adherence to goals while providing transparency on progress. Tools such as the Office of Sustainability and the Environmental Sustainable Strategic Plan are critical in conducting planning and management.

There are many ways you can continue to grow your sustainability knowledge and efforts, including an environmental sciences degree.

What Can You Do With an Environmental Sciences Degree?

Environmental scientists are people who care about and care for the planet. With an environmental science degree, you can build a foundation in both the natural and physical sciences. They can work on the front lines, such as identifying and addressing areas of environmental degradation like pollution and biodiversity loss, Weinstein said.

There are other educational options you can pursue such as: B. An Earth Sciences degree that focuses more on the natural sciences such as geology, geography, physics, chemistry, and more.

Another choice is an MBA program with a focus on sustainability and environmental sustainability. This gives you the opportunity to learn more about green business practices and applying solutions to sustainability challenges. Such an MBA can be beneficial in a number of workplaces including various organizations, non-profit organizations and private companies.

Is sustainability a good career?

A career in sustainability could be worthwhile if you are interested in bringing people together to create a better future. Sustainability could be a good career choice as jobs become more in demand, Weinstein said.

Some career paths you could take are:

  • environmental scientist: Environmental scientists, which typically require a bachelor’s degree, use their knowledge to help protect the environment and human health, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Environmental scientists and specialists earned an average wage of $73,230 in 2020, and BLS reports these jobs are expected to grow 8% through 2030.
  • geoscientist: Geoscientists need a bachelor’s degree to use their knowledge of the natural sciences to learn about the Earth, according to the BLS. However, for some positions, employers may prefer a master’s degree. BLS reports that geoscientists earned a median wage of $93,580 in 2020 and these jobs are expected to grow 7% through 2030.
  • technician: There are many types of engineering – some of which focus on the environment. According to the BLS, environmental engineers combine engineering, biology, and chemistry to design environmental solutions, and most require a bachelor’s degree for the position. BLS reports that environmental engineers earned a median wage of $92,120 in 2020, and these jobs are expected to grow 4% through 2030.

The area of ​​sustainability spans a wide network and requires knowledge from many different areas, said Weinstein. This leads to a variety of ways you can contribute to the field.

Regardless of your education level or career, there are many ways you can make a difference in environmental sustainability starting today.

Learn more about SNHU’s Environmental Sciences degree: find out what courses you’ll be taking, what skills you’ll learn, and how to request information about the program.

Nicholas Patterson is a writer at Southern New Hampshire University. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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