Respect. My parents taught me the meaning of this word before I even could understand what it was. I have always tried my best to be respectful to others and to myself. As I get older, I have come to realize that its not just people that you need to respect; you need to respect all aspects of life on earth, especially the things that aren't living.
Sustainability is synonymous to respect in my books. Current definitions of sustainability emphasize resourcefulness and equity. When a person, a culture, or a society is sustainable, they are respecting their current resources, they are respecting the needs of their people, and respecting the lives of people who aren't even in existence yet.
The concept of connecting sustainability with respect is easier to write about than it is to put into action. I value the idea of respect very highly, but I definitely continue to struggle with my respect in regards to sustainability. In our society, we have been raised on the idea of consumerism which has created a culture of wastefulness. It's hard to make these sustainable choices when it goes against what you had grown up with. Even though I struggle at times with living sustainability, I believe as I get older that it is getting easier to wrap my head around the changes that I should make in my lifestyle. When I was younger, I remember being taught the three R's and that has stuck with me for most of my life. But no one really told me about how destructive my lifestyle was to others and to the environment. High school was the first time that someone had shed the light on how modern societies ravage the land and exploit people in the process of providing modern comforts and "necessities." After learning about these ideas, that's probably when I really started caring about the idea of sustainability. Learning about the large scale effects of living the way that we do definitely gave me the perspective I needed to understand that all of my actions, no matter how small, affect the world that I live in. That's kind of crazy. As I am getting older and making more of my own choices, this idea is having more substance in my life.
If I were to live my life more sustainably, I would probably be even more broke than I currently am. Living sustainably is more expensive because of the extra care and thought that is being made while producing products and services. As a college student, it's hard to remain on a sustainable track because I don't always have the time to think about what I am doing and I don't have the means to choose the most sustainable product over the cheapest product. But I am starting to realize that I need to start taking more care when I am shopping so that I can start being more sustainable now so that I can make this a habit to keep. The largest obstacle to sustainability in my life is the price of it.
I would like to think that I live according to my sustainability ethic most of the time. There are times when I don't and I definitely acknowledge that. I'm still figuring out what I care about in this life and how I want to live it. I'm on my way to being the person I want to be and I am pretty certain that I want to be a more sustainable person.