Learning and Teaching Sustainability

Make a Difference, Focus your Sustainability Energy on…

idaho goats

One of our goals at Live to Sustain is to make the subject of sustainability easy enough for everyone to understand. It is a multi-faceted subject that requires clarification. We have been attempting to provide our readers with bite sized knowledge to help them be more sustainable. Today we are going to focus on two sustainability topics. ( 1 ) Sustainable Fashion and ( 2 ) Sustainable Agriculture. These are two areas of sustainability where change is needed, and FAST!

I chose fashion and agriculture because they are extremely important for sustainability. Advances aimed at sustainable practices in these two areas will drastically improve our ailing environment and help ensure we maintain a sustainable economy. Which in turn helps people.

Sustainable Fashion

There currently is no 100% sustainable clothing and textile manufacturing process. Instead of recommending one type of clothing or one clothing brand. Its best we focus on buying clothing only when we absolutely need.

Restrain from buying new clothes. Buy less clothing and textile goods. When you do need to buy new clothes, get them from companies that have already been vetted for their sustainable practices. Better yet, get them used. These days finding quality used clothes stores is easy. Patagonia even sells tons of great gear through their Worn Wear program.

Here is why we need to move away from non-sustainable practices:

  • Degradation of the land used to grow cotton
  • Poisoning of water run off from pesticides used to grow cotton
  • General use of chemicals in the clothing supply chain
  • Accumulation of textile waste

We can buy better products but the truth is we need to slow down our consumption of clothes. That would be the best first step. Focus your energy on buying less.

Sustainable Agriculture

First, lets focus on how we are going to produce enough food for future generations. Sara Menker, CEO of Gro Intelligence, predicts that "that the world could be short 214 trillion calories per year by 2027”. She along with others have pointed out that current food production cant keep up with the continuous growth of the worlds population. One of Gro's solutions is to reform the agriculture industry, specifically in Africa and India.

We need to adapt to sustainable agriculture practices before we ramp up our worlds food production. My concern is that we will perpetuate existing non-sustainable practices into the future. What we really need to do is correct our agriculture practices now, before our global population booms to 10 billion.

The gist of it is that we are using chemicals to alter our food and farmlands so that they can “keep-up” with growing food demands. We grow single crops year after year in the same fields and deplete the soils nutrients. Instead we should be using crop rotations as a way to enrich soil where healthy top-soil has been washed away and to enrich soil destroyed by chemicals and pesticides. Our farms need to implement self-sustaining practices that utilize their lands ecology as a natural way of restoring and maintaining farmable land. Healthy farm land also has the benefit of sequestering large amounts carbon dioxide. For more information on this, look into kernza grains and buckwheat.

As a sustainability conscious individual your focus should be on buying foods from growers who support changes in agriculture. We need to move towards restorative and sustainable agriculture. Buy local organics. Support agriculture that is self-sustaining without reliance on the chemicals that foul up our water systems, and our bodies.

This is a complex subject. I have only scratched the surface. My hope was that I could, at a minimum, bring more awareness to the need for sustainable agriculture. This description of sustainable agriculture found at ucdavis.edu will help your understanding of sustainable agriculture and topics within.

Buy from sustainable producers.

About the author: Adam Cunningham
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