The idea of sustainability is a tough concept to grasp. We have a hard time thinking of anything that doesn’t have an end. Everyone remembers looking up at the stars as a child and struggling to grasp the true expanse of the universe. We remember how our brains struggled with the idea of the size of what’s out there, and became more aware of our personal limits. How, then, has it taken us this long to wake up? Why are we just now realizing that our own little planet has limits, too, and can’t sustain our use of it?
For a long time, humans were able to live as carefree as we wanted (or so we thought). Our existence--and the heath and future of the planet--seemed to be sustainable, but we’re just now realizing that this hasn’t been the case for some time now. We’re living longer, there are more of us, we’re creating more waste and using more resources than ever before. It’s going to take a serious, systemic change before our existence can once again be sustainable on our planet.
To me, living a more sustainable life means finding balance. Sustainability means finding a way to use resources at a rate that is less than the rate of their replaceability. It means really going deep so we can be honest with ourselves about what we truly need, and what is excess. It means coming to terms with the fact that even if we manage to find and hold onto sustainability, that in and of itself means living within limits. For some, that’s going to be a very hard realization.
The double-edged sword of the instant global reach we now have via the Internet and all of its connected devices is that, while we’ve infinitely expanded our digital community, we’ve left behind the small, neighborhood communities that were once the extent of our interactions. Because of that, it’s sometimes harder to see how our actions affect those around us. The computer I’m typing on was assembled in China. I do not know by whom, or what their lives are like, or whether their lives are better or worse for my having purchased it, but I should. We must utilize these amazing tools that we have at our disposal to research just how our actions are truly affecting the planet and its people. Becoming a conscious consumer is part of that. Knowing what our products are made of and by whom. We must not only learn how a product’s disposal affects the planet, but understand how its creation does, too.
We also have to reward companies that are making efforts to better their footprint not just because it’s en vogue or because it’s what the consumer wants to hear, but because they know it’s the right thing to do. The clothing sponsor of the 2017 Live Be Yoga Tour, prAna, is a company like that. prAna has been an industry leader in working toward a sustainable production model since 1992, when the company’s creators were hand-sewing their first pieces in a garage. Choosing how we use our dollars is more important than most of us will ever know. Taking the time to research responsible companies, and buying our food, clothing, cars, and homes from them, will encourage other companies that may be more hesitant to stray from a traditional model to rethink their own future and in turn, ours. Read more about prAna’s sustainability efforts here.