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Examples of Environmental Sustainability | SNHU

Examples of Environmental Sustainability | SNHU

Students working in the field on environmental sustainability practices

Students working in the field on environmental sustainability practices

Every year, April 22 is celebrated around the globe. Earth DayIt is a chance to bring people together to work towards a common goal: sustainability. According to the Earth Day site, 2022’s theme is “Invest in Our Planet.” The nonprofit’s hope is to shine awareness on environmental sustainability and to unite businesses, governments and citizens to create “a partnership for the planet,” according to the official site.

Some organizations put environmental sustainability at the forefront every day – not just Earth Day. Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), an institution, has created an Office of Sustainability to empower its students, staff, faculty, and staff to create a sustainable 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 this definition,” said Mike WeinsteinDirector of sustainability at SNHU. “It asks us to consider two things; first, what are ‘needs?’ And secondly, what is life beyond ourselves?”.

Weinstein describes “needs” as clean water, healthy food and stable housing and points out that billions of people still lack access to some combination of those needs. Water, a global nonprofit organization that promotes safe water access, says that one in 10 people (771 million people) don’t have safe water.Water PDF Source).

It becomes apparent that environmental sustainability requires a level selflessness to ensure that future generations are also considered.

Why is environmental sustainability important?

It is important to sustain resources such as clean air, water, and wildlife for future generations.

Another important sustainability definition that Weinstein likes is: “Ensuring that human society operates with ecological borders.” This definition is known as the planetary boundary (PB) concept. It was established in 2009 to determine where humans can safely operate within the environment’s constraints. ScienceAn online research organization,. It’s important to understand that humans do have boundaries, and it’s important to understand where those are to maintain sustainability.

Although, most of the world is very disconnected from the basic functioning of the planet and it’s easy to lose sight of essential factors, according to Weinstein. For example, humans are part of Earth’s ecosystem and live in the same areas as the rest of Earth’s living beings. “Our current economic activity ignores these boundaries,” Weinstein said.

One thing is certain: Human survival depends on environmental sustainability.

What can you do?

Mike Weinstein with the text Mike WeinsteinYou can use solar panels to minimize your carbon footprint, ride a bike, or use an electric vehicle. Weinstein noted that these solutions can be more expensive than non-sustainable ones. While expense doesn’t rule out those practices, there are other solutions you can pursue as well.

You can also work to influence large systems to make changes. Weinstein stated that SNHU has an Office of Sustainability due to SNHU President Paul LeBlanc and the university’s Board of Trustees and senior leadership understand that it is the right thing to do—and, because SNHU’s staff, faculty and students expressed interest in a university-wide commitment.

There is a widespread call for change on college campuses. According to Students Organizing for Sustainability International (SOS International), ninety-two per cent of college students agreed that institutions should promote sustainable development.SOS PDF Source).

Weinstein said that SNHU can bring principles for sustainability to its community due to its unique position with students and faculty around the world.

How can you achieve environmental sustainability?

Organizations like the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USAEPA) provide environmental regulations.EPA). The EPA is authorized by Congress to make rules that will allow for the implementation of laws.

These regulations are mandatory according to the EPA and can be applied to:

  • Businesses
  • Individuals
  • Non-profit institutions
  • State or local governments

Weinstein stated that regulations create accountability but must be strict and rigorously enforced if they are going to achieve environmental sustainability. He stated that the EPA has a backlog and that our public infrastructures are not creating accountability. Although it may seem frustrating, there are still ways that everyone can make a difference.

How can you help achieve sustainability, then? The UN offers these services: 17 goalsSustainable development is the pathway to a more sustainable future. These goals address global problems like:

  • Sanitation and clean water: Learn how to conserve water
  • Climate action: Stop global warming by acting now
  • Life below waterAvoid plastic bags to keep the oceans clean
  • Life on land: Helping the environment by planting trees
  • Responsible consumption and productionRecycling paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum
  • Sustainable communities and cities: Walking, biking or using public transport

Sustainability is more than nature. “We have to simultaneously recognize that oppressed communities are more severely impacted by environmental degradation,” Weinstein said. You can’t truly achieve sustainability, he said, until everyone has safe, healthy and happy communities that operate with future generations in mind.

Examples of sustainability at SNHU

SNHU’s Environmental Sustainability Strategic Plan has four primary areas of focus (PDF Source):

  • Academics: Creating a positive learning environment and providing opportunities for all learners.
  • Community engagement: To foster a culture of sustainability at all levels, and to be recognized in local communities.
  • Operations: Behind-the-scenes work where processes such as carbon neutrality can be followed through to ensure that every day operations are supporting sustainability.
  • Planning and administrationOrganizing and maintaining goals, while being transparent about progress. Planning and administration can be made easier by tools such as the Office of Sustainability or the Environmental Sustainable Strategic Plan.

There are many ways to continue your sustainability knowledge and efforts. You can even pursue a degree in environmental science.  

See Also

What can you do with an Environmental Science degree?

People who take care of the planet are called environmental scientists. A degree in environmental science will give you a foundation in both the natural and physical sciences. Weinstein stated that you may be involved in frontline work such as identifying and addressing environmental degradation, such as pollution, and biodiversity loss.

There are other educational options you can pursue, such as a geoscience degree which focuses more on the physical sciences such as geology, geography, physics, chemistry and more.

Another choice is an MBA program with a concentration in sustainability and environmental compliance. This will allow you to learn about sustainable business practices and apply solutions to sustainability problems. This MBA can be useful in a variety of settings, including private and nonprofit companies.

Is sustainability a good career?

If you are passionate about bringing people together for a better future, a career in sustainability may be for you. Weinstein stated that sustainability is a promising career choice due to the increasing demand for jobs.

Here are some career options you might consider:

  • Environmental scientist: Typically requiring a bachelor’s degree, environmental scientists use their knowledge to protect the environment and human health, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median salary for environmental specialists and specialists was $17,500 $73,230BLS reports that these jobs are expected to increase by 8% through 2030 in 2020.
  • Geoscientist: Using their knowledge of physical science to learn about earth, geoscientists need a bachelor’s degree, according to BLS. Although, for some positions employers may prefer a master’s. According to BLS, geoscientists earn median pay of $93,580These jobs will grow by 7% between 2020 and 2030, according to the forecasts.
  • Engineer: There are many types of engineering – some of which are focused on the environment. Environmental engineers combine engineering, biology and chemistry to develop environmental solutions, according to BLS, and most will need a bachelor’s for this position. BLS reports that environmental engineers earn a median salary of $17,790. $92,120These jobs will grow by 4% between 2020 and 2030, according to the forecasts.

Weinstein said that the sustainability field requires knowledge from many sectors. This allows you to contribute in many different ways.

No matter your education or career, there are many opportunities to make an impact on environmental sustainability.

Discover more about SNHU’s environmental science degree: Find out what courses you’ll take, skills you’ll learn and how to request information about the program.

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

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