Today across America, families and communities are recognizing the need for fundamental change in the way we go about our daily lives. This is based on a wide range of regional and national indicators including growing fragility in our economic underpinning, income disparity (incomes of the top 1% rose 31.4% since 2009; incomes of the bottom 99% rose .4%), sprawl (23 million acres of US farmland were lost since 1988), decaying infrastructure and more. Globally, there is a steady decline in the health of our core support systems including our oceans (world fishing catch has declined steadily since its 1996 peak), forests (15 million acres a year lost), water (1 in every 4 people lives with inadequate fresh water), our biodiversity and our climate.
"Sustainability" means living and working in a way that meets today's needs without causing harm to the environment, to other people or to future generations. Real sustainability is durable, economically balanced, vibrant, healthy and satisfying to the human spirit. Sustainability uses simple techniques that are widely available to help each of us rethink, redesign, rebuild, restore, shop, work, eat, travel and in general live and prosper in an enduring manner. It is the gateway to an environmentally sound, economically secure and personally fulfilling future.
Guest editorial in the Asheville Citizen-Times by Sustainable Now founder, Ian Booth.