What?

Q: What is sustainability?

A: Sustainability is the process of acting today in ways that don’t increase competition for limited resources in the future.  Achieving sustainability is essential to make it so that children all over the world can live healthy, productive lives.

Q: What are the most important aspects of sustainability?

A: The most important aspect of sustainability may be getting people to understand the impacts of their actions on the environment and future generations.  Most people want their children to have at least as good of a life as they have. By learning about the negative impacts of some actions and about the positive impacts of other actions, most people will choose to act to protect their children’s standard of living.

The biggest challenges facing humanity are the multitude of negative impacts associated with humanities dependence on fossil fuels.  The negative impacts associated with fossil fuels include:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions that are contributing to global warming which is disrupting weather patterns which, in turn, is resulting in more damaging storms, droughts, and sea level rise.
  • Ocean acidification from carbonic acid resulting from carbon dioxide dissolving in the ocean which, in combination with ocean warming, is causing damage to ocean ecosystems that provide essential protein for hundreds of millions of people.
  • Byproducts of fossil fuel production and combustion that get into the air and water which, in turn, causes a variety of health problems.
  • Dedication of excessive military resources to protect the sources and transportation of fossil fuels.
  • Some income from fossil fuels ends up funding terrorism.

Q: What are human health impacts associated with climate change?

A: There are numerous human health impacts associated with climate change, some of the most commonly seen are asthma, food scarcity leading to malnutrition or starvation, and water quality related illnesses such as cholera. Increases in heat stroke and stress associated with higher temperatures are also associated with climate change.

For more information check out: http://www.cdc.gov/climateandhealth/effects/

Q: What is a carbon footprint?

A: A carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere from an entity or activity. It can relate to a person, a family, a company or a product. A product’s carbon footprint may be reported in pounds or kilograms of carbon dioxide. A family’s carbon footprint may be reported in tons of carbon dioxide per year.

For more information, see: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2010/jun/04/carbon-footprint-definitio

Q: What can I do to reduce my carbon footprint?

A: There are many actions you can take to reduce your carbon footprint. These include: buying sustainably sourced products, carpooling, choosing activities and vacation destinations that are closer to home, choosing alternatives to beef, and getting a home energy audit.

For more information go to: http://shrinkthatfootprint.com/13-steps-carbon-footprint

https://sustainability.georgetown.edu/getinvolved/thingsyoucando

http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/reduce-your-carbon-footprint/

Q: What is environmental justice?

A: Environmental Justice is the equitable treatment and the involvement of all people, no matter their race, religion, color, national origin, where people live, gender, sexual orientation, income, etc., in the creation, implementation, and enactment of any environmental policy, law or regulation. An environmental injustice would be when a policy, law or regulation would result in unfair treatment for a group of historically marginalized people (ex: environmental racism, environmental sexism, etc.). Environmental justice also refers to a movement that desires the equitable treatment of environmental costs and benefits.

For more information go to: https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice

Q: What are global security implications of sustainability?

A: Warming is causing glaciers to melt and seawater to expand which results in coastal flooding. Climate change and ocean acidification threaten food security. Coastal flooding and food insecurity cause human migration. Human migration causes political instability.

For more information, see: http://archive.defense.gov/pubs/150724-congressional-report-on-national-implications-of-climate-change.pdf?source=govdelivery