The topic of sustainability has been bantered around in the last few years, but very few people actually know what it means. Most understand that it is something that is good for the earth and our environment, but can’t quite wrap their arms around how they can adapt to sustainability in their own lives.

In today’s green world, sustainability actually follows the life guidelines of the Native Americans. While the white man invaded, took over, owned and destroyed, Native Americans understood that they were temporary stewards and must care for nature. Sustainability means blending harmony and dignity with nature; living within the environment while not causing damaging effects to the current and future existence; A blend of existing functionality with the economy in a non-intrusive manner; treating the community as an actual living entity with a balance in economic, human and natural; viewing our daily lives in a longer term concept and examining each effect on how it may change or harm the future; respect in all aspects of daily life.

This sounds wonderful, but can a society such as ours, with the intensity of waste, actually accomplish sustainability? There are many things that we can do every day that can help and, if enough people participate it can make a difference.

Sustainability in industry is the first major impact. Companies are beginning to realize that investing in sustainable functions and products are actually good for business. People will support and buy products from corporations that have a sustainable focus but it also has an incredible return-on-investment for their bottom line. In essence, it pays for a company to be sustainable. As consumers, we can support this attitude by buying products that offer a sustainable effort.

Products that are considered sustainable can be everything from shoes to vehicles. There are many websites that list these kinds of products and the manufacturers that make them. What you should be looking for is: organic cotton-based, bamboo and alternative wood-based, organic clothing listed as alternative (non-man made)-based; organic and Fair Trade; wool sourced directly from sheep on sustainable farms; hemp-based products; soy-based products; sweatshop-free based companies; clothing that isn’t treated with the chemicals that include toxins; containers made with recycled materials; vegetable-based products; local farm market produce; soaps made from recycled and natural oils; fragrance-free products; natural botanicals; cruelty-free products ensure no animals were harmed in the production; organic composts and fertilizers for the garden; organic pesticide products; natural bee farm honeys and waxes; recycled building materials for the home; organic plasters and building products; natural paints that are toxin-free; energy saving technologies that were produced by a sustainable manufacturer; household cleaners made from botanicals and non-toxic ingredients; planters, outdoor and indoor furniture that contain recycled or bamboo-based materials. If you are looking for organic and Fair Trade, make sure it says USDA Certified Organic and has the official Fair Trade label.

This is just a partial list as it continues on to just about everything in our lives. More companies are proclaiming their concern for the environment and are proudly touting their sustainable efforts. If you thought you had to go to specialty stores to buy and support these products, you are wrong. They are appearing in mass quantities in just about every major retail and chain store location.

All you have to do is be aware and look at the labels and packaging. Choose the product, service or company that shows they are sustainable. If you are in doubt, there is a plethora of information on the net for you to investigate as to the viability of the company itself.


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