A version of this post originally published in February 2014. We reposted it in celebration of Earth Day 2016 and to inspire further conversation.

With a world population almost three times what is sustainable, it’s time to get serious about managing an imbalanced planet.

One of the most interesting comments I’ve read regarding sustainability came from this article by Andrew Zolli for the New York Times, written in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy:

“A dialogue is emerging around a new idea, resilience: How to help vulnerable people, organizations and systems persist, perhaps even thrive, amid unforeseeable disruptions. Where sustainability aims to put the world back into balance, resilience looks for ways to manage in an imbalanced world.”

With a world population 3x what is sustainable, it’s time to get serious about managing an imbalanced planet. Tweet This Quote

Having spent a large part of my career working in and around environmentalism and conservation, a reality-check of ‘sustainability’ is something I’ve had on my mind for awhile. With its arch enemy—population growth—driving ever-upward, I’ve wondered whether we’re stalling for time or delaying the inevitable. The problem with this school of thought is that many consider it defeatist.

Technology allows us to stretch the limits of what’s possible—grow significantly more food per acre, or live in climates we were never meant to live in. These are all activities which make us feel comfortable about the world and the places we live within it. Much of this technology has become invisible. For example, we no longer think about the innovations that allow us to grow more food, get electricity to our homes, or the satellites that help get cars and planes from A to B. It’s only when we don’t have access to these things that we suddenly realize how exposed and dependent we are on them.

Technology allows us to stretch the limits of what’s possible. Tweet This Quote

The environmental movement is around forty years old. We can learn a lot from history, but today not enough of us are listening. Our world population of over seven billion is already two to three times higher than what’s sustainable and, according to the World Population Balance website, recent studies have shown that the Earth’s resources are enough to sustain only about two billion people at most European’s current standard of living. In short, we’re in trouble.

  1. First, we need to get people to listen and take interest, but not in the way the wider non-profit movement has historically tried to get us to (i.e. guilt-based education).
  2. Second, we need to rethink our relationships with local business, local resources, and each other.

Want to positively impact the world? Rethink your relationship with money and resources. Tweet This Quote

I do know that with the current economic climate, conditions are better than they’ve ever been to get people to rethink their relationship with money, resources and each other. These may not directly impact the environmental or sustainability agenda, but the secondary benefit of people making better use of the human, social, financial and environmental capital around them almost certainly will.

About the author

Ken Banks

Ken Banks

Ken is the founder of kiwanja.net, Means of Exchange, and FrontlineSMS. He is a Pop!Tech and Ashoka Fellow, Tech Awards Laureate, and National Geographic Emerging Explorer, and has been internationally recognized for his work applying mobile tech for positive social and environmental change in the developing world. Ken is also the Entrepreneur in Residence at CARE International.

  • byrnesbk24

    Don’t you think the world is more worried about politics then they are sustainability? I think that’s one big problem. More time and energy should be put towards this topic instead of fighting with one another’s nations. If nations could work together we could have this thing solved but it seems to be more about money than about people and the planet.

  • Alyssa Borgrud

    I agree with your point that we are “in trouble”. If people continue to live the ways that they always have, we will continue to be farther disconnected from our ultimate goal. People need to learn to start with small changes. If everyone did that we would at least be making progress. My question for you is how far do you think the world will neglect sustainability before we start to make a change? Some would say that we are already closely approaching the ticking point, but what do you personally believe?

  • amykahl8

    I definitely agree that local businesses are the key to helping solve many issues that exist today! This can help the economy, build a better sense of community, build a better sense of appreciation for the hard work small business owners have to put forth to stay afloat today, and this makes towns, or countries more self sustainable. Wealthier countries don’t see the effects of pollution or wasting of materials on a day to day basis, but if there were constant reminders around, then people might stop and actually think before they throw things away all the time or pollute the ground with chemicals. What do you suggest would really open the eyes of people who have forgotten about this issue?

  • TallPaul14

    This is an interesting take on sustainability Ken. We do need to spread the word on sustainability and get people interested. The methods used in the past need an update, and they need to show the new ways that one can be sustainable. That being said, we can all individually rethink about our personal relationship with money and resources, but how we spread this and get people interested is a whole new battle.

  • natebbeard

    Ken, the intersection between tach and sustainability (or adaptability) is coming together, and I’m excited to see where it goes. For example, Billion People Project was a small group of people who gathered together in Boulder to begin working on a mobile application engaging people to commit to some types of sustainable action. For example, I would commit to riding my bike to campus instead of driving or taking the bus. The accelerometer in my phone would pick up whether I’m driving or riding my bike and convert that into lbs of carbon saved. This capitalizes on ‘Internet of Things’ describing how devices communicate to each and streamline real-time physical data to smart devices, which helps quantified self movements, but it also presents an opportunity to move away from the ‘guilt-based education’ towards a gamificaiton aspect that encourages participant involvement in the general public. If my data is aggregated with my roommates, the neighborhood, the city, and the state, etc… and comparable at every level down to the individual (the most important part) people may be encouraged to practice those small healthy actions. There are so many different applications of this concept that need to be implemented. It could be more a matter of time before we hit that technological tipping point?

    One of my favorites:
    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

  • Lindsay Burke

    I agree with this, everyone in the world is so focused on other things such as politics and the accumulation of money, that they forget what makes all of these growths possible. It is really important to invoke a sense of higher importance into this idea of “sustainability’. Many people see it as a problem that will occur in the distant future, not as a problem that is already here, because in fact the Earths resources can only sustain one third of our population now. With the economy slowly climbing again, I think that it is important to take this notion of sustainability back up with the economy. We cannot have a thriving economy without conservation.

  • BartuchGR11

    Hi Ken, I thought your blog post was important because you are right we need to spread the word on sustainability and do it in a way that will get peoples attention. For example, maybe we can engage more people if we relate it back to their own personal lives by showing them if we don’t do something now how it will effect them personally in the future. I do also agree, that our technology that has allowed us to stretch our limits. That same technology has become invisible and it is only when we don’t have access to that technology is when we realize how dependent we have become it.

  • CateRob

    Hi Ken, I think you are spot on here. The biggest problem I see is getting people to listen. Those that share social responsibility will, but the masses, I’m not so sure about. If the earth can only sustain 2 billion, most people will say, ‘well, we have 5 billion more, and we are more or less surviving. I like natebbeard’s example/suggestion (below) but I think it will take the innovators to build/produce the actual infrastructure/systems aimed at sustainability. As in the movie, Field of Dreams, “if you build it, they will come” must happen if we are to change on a large scale.

  • DrivenbySuccess

    I agree that people don’t always listen to what might be the best for them. People have developed their own way of handling situations and you’re right they have survived but the question is; “How long can we/they survive”. I do not believe that we are necessarily in trouble because the world is growing but it will soon be a fight or flight moment when resources become scarce and the amount of needs in the world surpasses the amount of production and innovation in the world.

  • Logan Dohmeier

    This is an excellent article as I too have thought about how the earth will support our future. The population is growing very fast with no sure signs of slowing down. Technology has become the driving factor for success, but I am afraid that it will inevitably go too far and cause more harm then good. It is really important for people to understand the ideology of environmentalism and I am not necessarily saying “buy in” to every idea, but take action on the small sustainable resources you can control. If everyone makes small contributions, it will really add up in the long run. I definitely agree about how the use of our resources is very poor, and that we are in trouble.

  • Jen McKiernan

    This is a great article that really opened my eyes to the problem of sustainability. This problem never really crossed my mind so I was unaware that we have 3x the sustainable population. It is scary to think of what this means for the future. How do you think we can get people to listen and take action before it is too late?

  • Kendra Larson

    This is an interesting article. It is true, that people do not think about Americas money and resources like they should. Technology has changed our world today, in ways that has allowed us to take these things for granite. I did not think of this as a huge problem before, until I read this article. It has opened my eyes and made me think a little more about this issue, and try to figure out ways that this could be changed. What are some things you have been doing to help resolve this issue? Thank you for sharing!

  • cordierm

    Interesting take on sustainability. While I do believe that change is possible by encouraging individuals to become more aware of our impact, there needs to be more systemic change to make an impact. Economic incentives need to occur to drive the population towards some type of sustainability. As of right now, just the opposite is occurring

  • Chris Williams

    I agree that it is true that people don’t think about Americans money and resources like they should. I believe technology is the new and still upcoming game changer in this topic as well as many others. This problem has been blossoming for some time not, and it is in the world we live in and the world our children will live in. I agree that this article touches and some good ideas, but in all-reality how many ideas has there been already? and how many ways will it take before it’s fixed?

  • Tim Rutkowski

    I feel this should touch home for everyone. Most people want to grow up and have a family and want their children to have children and so on. For that to happen, we need to be able to find new earth friendly ways to gain resources. This obviously is easier said then done. What I don’t understand is how do we know that 2-3 billion is the max that the planet can withstand? We have been drilling oil out of the earth for over a hundred years who’s to say that there isn’t some kind of alien force that regulates are functions.

  • anp042

    Interesting wake up call. Growing up in Los Angeles, recycling was something only “hippies” did. Sustainability was not really in the picture until my senior year of high school when I took an AP Environmental Science class. My interest started there, but in moving to Seattle for college, I was surrounded by it. I like being as sustainable as possible in my current life, but one day hope to turn it up a notch. I feel like I’ll be more conscious about this after I can make choices w/o the price being the largest weight.

  • Palecekb

    Ken, I liked your article but I feel this is only a starting point. You suggest to rethink relationships with local business and money. But in what ways do you refer to? I know my own family has a local business, are you suggesting we invest into them more? and for what purpose exactly? Of course it would be good for my own family but are you suggesting that corporations are not doing a good job of sustainability? I do not quiet understand the link between sustainability and small businesses. You touched on “guilt-based education” what ways do you intend to try to get people to want to learn? show them pictures or videos in countries of poverty? I am very interested in your outlook and opinions on the matter. Thank you for sharing.

  • katie bartlein

    The time to take action is now. With the worlds population growing rapidly every day, its no secret that our planet can’t support those kinds of numbers. Technology has helped us along the way, grow to these kinds of numbers and possibly it can help us reverse the damage as well. The time to do something is now though, we can no longer wait for things to get worse. What kinds of things could we possibly do to ‘get the ball rolling’ and protect this planet in terms of population growth?

  • Jack Delabar

    Good post, Ken. I completely agree with your points. We as a population are way too dependent on things like cell phones and computers. We don’t appreciate the luxuries we have. People throw things away that some others would kill to have and it is nothing but a waste of our diminishing resources. The only problem is, how do we get the message to people? How do we get it started so people start conserving instead of wasting?

  • Austin Dorman

    This was a good article. I liked the idea the article presented. I agree that if we want to change anything in the world that we must educate people more. I liked this idea of “guilt based education.” I’m curious how is this suppose to be implemented? Do we just keep telling stories and showing pictures to make people feel bad?

  • treehugger90

    Great article Ken! I wish people would open their eyes and look around because you do not see many people caring about world and mother nature! This article made me think about how many people that don’t recycle and how many times they can use at least one piece of paper. I found myself using one piece of paper for four things I had to do! Thanks for the article, and I cannot agree more that the world in general needs to think about money and resources!

  • LevenhagAL14

    This is a great article. I think it is important to become aware of the problem before we are able to find a solution, so I definitely agree with you about educating the public. I am curious, what method would you suggest? You stated in the article that we need to this radically in comparison to what has been done previously. Do you have any ideas on how to go about doing this?

  • hanj5

    The best way to address the issue is by educating others of the impacts of our consumption. However, I don’t believe education will be enough because i don’t see how people’s buying behaviors will change when capitalism depends on it.

  • Keeli Gilbert

    How true is this article. Today’s time is forcing everyone to rethink their relationship with money and the way they are spending their time. I am only 20 years old and I know that I need to work harder then ever to keep up with the growing economy. I am pro-life, so reading this article was tough in the sense that our world simply cannot afford or handle anymore people. Of course I want everyone to live a happy healthy life, but this is hard times and people need to start listening to their economic problem that is increasing rapidly.

  • kristinwagner32

    I completely agree with you and this article Ken wrote! For some of my classes it is crazy how much wasted paper I use. I like how Ken thought not just about the money but how we need to realize certain things about our resources also!! Many people are only worried about themselves nowadays which makes it difficult to open their eyes; but I think this article is a great start! Thanks!

  • duongh1

    I agree with the article. We should be focus on solving the problem, there is no time to feel bad about what happened in the past. The increase in population is inevitable. Instead of worrying about the inevitable, why don’t we focus our energy in breaking the current limits of sustainability and extend the list of what are possible?

  • nornesa

    Where do you strike the balance of doing more with
    less while keeping the economic engine revving so that competition can flourish
    in the marketplace keeping innovation growing without destroying the planet in
    the process or creating an environment out of balance? The phrase “resilience looks for ways to
    manage in an imbalanced world” makes sense to me. I fear the word sustainability is overused
    and misunderstood in some contexts.
    Resilience imparts a sense of surviving in a situation we know is unfair
    or unjust, and until that day comes when the balance shifts to more favorable
    outcomes for the greater good, we need to manage our resources in the most
    efficient and ‘sustainable’ way we can.

  • Frank_Stanek

    In my experience the real problem you face when trying to inform people of the problems our world faces is either that they believe that it’s too late or there is nothing they can do, or they are happy and comfortable in their lives the way they are and see no reason why they should change what they have been doing their whole lives. While that sounds discouraging, and it is to some extent, I also try and keep in mind that even if you make one small change in a dozen people’s lifestyles you have made a difference. Not exactly the goal you were looking for, but it’s a reason to continue.

  • Haley Horn

    There are so many ignorant people in this world that just don’t care. They don’t care what the world will be like when they die, they’re not worried about how their children, grandchildren, etc are going to live. It is unfortunate at the lack of education people have about certain things just because they DON’T LISTEN and don’t WANT to listen. Thanks for sharing!

  • Brandon

    Thanks for the read Ken!! This is true in so many ways because with technology growing each day we are depend on that and don’t think about the little things in life we need. I agree we do need to rethink about relationship with money.

  • Katie Ackerman

    I agree! There are so many people in this world that also could use a sustainability reality check, including myself. I think a lot of it has to do with the selfish generation we’ve become apart of. So many people are only concerned with themselves that they don’t give a hoot what happens in the future, as long as it doesn’t effect them today. We are currently faced with the problem of creating a balance. “Second, we need to rethink our relationships with local business, local resources, and each other.” A true statement has never been spoken. Local has turned to global. People don’t appreciate their surroundings, local food, local resources, etc. The day we get back to that is a day we can be proud of. How do you maintain local relationships?

  • KJ

    spending the time to teach today’s teenagers would be an efficient way to spread this wisdom. If we wait until we are old enough to have children and see negative effects of our consumption then we are already a step behind. I appreciate this article for the truth that it highlights, but the message has to be passed to the masses.

  • schrammjm26

    Great post. Many people talk about change but never take any action to make it happen or set it in motion. Many people believe that someone else will take care of it and unfortunately with that mind set everyone thinks that something will be done or is being done when the reality of the situation is that it may not be at all. Sustainability changes need to happen now because the cycle of change is a very long process. Something as simple as word of mouth when your at work or with friends can make the difference if it reaches the right ears.

  • treehugger90

    I agree! Resources are so important! That is the absolute truth about people only being worried about themselves nowadays. Everybody is so caught up in technology and it’s getting ridiculous! We need to enjoy the outdoors and appreciate what we have right in front of us! 🙂

  • Branden Unger

    I agree with this post. The idea that the world is only sustainable for about two billion people living the way we do, but in actuality we have more like seven billion people on earth is an interesting and scary thought! I also agree that we need to better educate people on this subject, not in some of the ways used in the past, but ways that will actually interest and inspire people to make a change.

  • mhansen11

    Thank you for this post! I really liked how you talked about needing to get the interest of people first before anything. Making them want to be interested in it and not having it forced upon them is important. A question I would just have here would be what would the best way to sell yourself and how to grab their attention to make them want to see you and work on different things?
    Thank you again!

  • stangleram13

    thank you of the post. I do think a lot of people dont use the interest the non-education based. This useful to me because I use the interest right or a least half the time. What made you right this?

  • Alivia Holman

    I completely agree with you. I think if our generation of college students make an effort to impact our youth today. Younger children look up to their siblings, so I believe if we step up to motivate them we can hopefully be one step closer.

  • masterdan55

    Thanks for the post! You bring some interesting ideas to the table. I still believe there is enough resource as of now to sustain the world. However if the population keeps going up we may have a bigger problem on our hands. By making people more aware and teaching this in school would help if we could actually set up a program to do so. Whats your next step?

  • Caitlin Donohue

    Thank you for this post! I also strongly agree the many people are not caring enough about our environment and are taking it for granted. What’s one example of getting people to notice in this cause in a guilt free way?

  • caoam

    I agree with this article. The more the world develop, the more we really need to care about everything around us. I think your article really encourage people.

  • Kait Harman

    Wow, this article made me have a loss for words. Most of our world is unaware of the almost all of us contribute too. Even if you are one of the few people who use money and resources wisely, you are surrounded by people who don’t. We need to make everyone aware of what could happen in our future. What really scared me is earths resources are only able to sustain 2 billion people and we are way over that and we are in trouble. What are possible troubles we could face in the future?

  • Kobajr18

    Thanks for the post! This was a phenomenal read start to finish. Looking at sustainability it is obvious the world can not continue to be run the way it is today. With this being said I don’t see the major changes happening around me. There are many different “Go Green” type programs but the average person I meet isn’t concerned with the future consequences we could face. How do you suggest we get the world to listen?

  • Kobajr18

    I agree completely! It’s the little things that make the biggest differences in life. If everyone could commit to changing just a little bit it could be a different world.

  • treehugger90

    Amen to that! Just changing one thing like bringing your own coffee mug or water bottle; will make a big difference!! 🙂

  • Willie

    I totally agree with you, great read. The crazy thing is I know everybody has heard the awful and tragic things that can happen if the worst case scenarios of global warming were to occur, yet pollution emissions, garbage waste, and debt continues to grow. People don’t take situations seriously until they happen to them personally, hopefully we as a society can change before its too late.

  • Tammy Hartmann

    Ken, thank you for the article. I could not agree more; I often ask this question, “Want to positively impact the world? Rethink your relationship with money and resources.” Quite frankly, the consequences of money will arrive before we blink, and this is what bothers me. One problem is that we waste so much on guilt-based education instead doing of doing something different. Again, we often get stuck in between guilt and how to take the time to address the issues.

    The environmental movement is around 40 years old as stated in the article. People often do not pay attention to issues until it’s almost too late. One way to maybe get people to pay attention, enforce, listen, and be interested about the two questions in the article — maybe we could have people’s names selected at
    random to be part of projects, much like jury duty. A radical approach, but it could work.

  • Alessandro Paredes

    The “guilt-based education” point you make is the key to solving the problem you address. I think people like the idea of helping others and thinking about the greater good but when it comes down to it, people will always put themselves first. I think the conversation should be a more direct campaign focused on how these issues directly impact an individual. Asking questions like, “are you aware that due to global climate change, your chances of being affected by a major weather event have increased by blank %?” Force people to look at global problems from their own perspective and on a personal level. “Do you like to eat fish? If we continue the current trends of fishing You will not be able to buy any fish in blank years.” This may not be the best approach but it is an idea.

    Tammy: I like your idea of having people work on these types of projects. I know in Germany, they used to have mandatory service where an individual could choose to participate in the military or volunteer their time at retirement homes, homeless shelters, etc. I think that some sort of volunteer service for a set period of time with incentives, such as, financial assistance for higher education, could have a very positive impact on these issues. Instead of having people volunteer at retirement homes, have them work on projects to find alternative ways of using plastic bottles, renewable energy ideas, etc.
    Thanks for the article

  • Tim Rutkowski

    I love this article for two reasons. First one being the push for responsible allocations of resources. Secondly you mentioned how people are educated for taking care of the environment by guilt education. This a common theme through the non-profits whom are trying to make a difference when in reality most of the money donated is not spent on the actual charity.

  • lpierce34

    I completely agree with Alessandro Paredes. People feel good for donating to a charity etc but people almost always do put themselves before others. It seems there is no such thing as true altruism because in the end, we all pick ourelves over others. In order to really get individuals to feel like they personally will be impacted by the effects of climate change we have to give them facts that directly relate problems to their way of life.

  • lpierce34

    Another thing I think is difficult, is that the effects of climate change and our completely disintegrating level of sustainability are hard to see. You dont look out the window and see a war and know you need to make a plan about how to stop it. It doesnt seem urgent enough to us because, in all honesty, it wont be heavily affecting those of us alive today most likely. It is selfish that we put off this problem but it is hard not to when it is not prevalent in our every day lives.

  • Nathan

    Thank you! I loved the part where you said we don’t know how dependent we are to something until it’s gone. That can be used in any part of our life. People don’t realize how lucky they are to drive a car to work everyday. I don’t understand how we can make people think about how their choices can affect others.

  • HelpHealth002

    Thanks for writing this article Ken. I think everybody needs to read this because our environment affects us all, as we affect it as well. I like the comment about how technology allows us to live places and do things that were otherwise impossible in the past. It’s something we don’t always think about but it’s important that we do because there’s going to come a time where technology won’t be able to do that anymore. Our world is becoming over populated and unsustainable and technology won’t always be there to ‘rescue’ us. We need to be more responsible with how to treat and use the earths resources if we want our children’s children, to have a good life. What do you advise be done to help teach and encourage others to care more about the environment and their choices?

  • earose14

    Thanks for sharing this article. First off I do believe we depend on the things we use to get through our lives. Our world is growing everyday and like it said in the article it is two to three times higher than whats sustainable. We dont realize how lucky we are to have the transportation and money that we do. Things not only need to be said but need to be done and taken into action if anyone wants anything to change. A reality check of sustaibability is what everyone needs to think about!

  • mankobj22

    Wow! I love this article and all that it is about. I have very similar views as yours, especially in your “call to action”. Its time that people start becoming interested in this topic and understanding its importance and severity. Actually, I think it is long past due. But its also time that we start to come together, or as you say, start to rethink our relationships, to get it done. We are lucky to have technology so available to us but we need to use it in the best, most effective and meaningful way in order to increase sustainability.

  • yencheskcj27

    I completely agree with Tim. I think a large part of the problem is the amount of waste in the world (especially in the U.S.). I wonder how different the world would look if everyone simplyt used the resources that they needed. If only we weren’t all held back by our greed and pride.

  • Abbey Stibbs

    I really like this article a lot. For somebody who lives in a college town, and pretty much has all of the resources that a person needs in one place, this article is eye opening. I have a nice apartment, electric, food, a car, cell phone, the “essentials”. Although I am an energy saver, and I do buy the majority of my food locally, there are several things that I can do alone to make my life more sustainable. Now looking back on it, I think that I do take some things for granted. I am living, aren’t I? I have a roof over my head, and a kitchen full of food. I have a means of transportation, and I am receiving an education. I think the author makes an excellent point when he says that we need to rethink our relationship with money and resources. After reading this article, I have come to the conclusion that I have some changes to make in my life.

  • Hillary12

    I really enjoyed this article. I think population growth is one of the biggest environmental problems we are facing today because it fuels all of the other environmental problems. More people means a greater demand for food, clothing, and shelter. These increased demands mean greater emission releases, deforestation, and habitat loss. People are soon going to drive many animals to become extinct until we’re the last species left. Our world can’t sustain itself going at the rate we are now. Many changes have to be made in the world and population growth is at the top of the list.

  • Natasha Tynczuk

    This is a great article. I agree that society as a whole needs to be more sustainable, but it is easier said than done. According to the article, one of the first things we need to do is get people to listen and take interest, but how do we do that?

  • Skowronssj06

    I agree that it is easier said than done. People today have their own mind set on what they want to do- and A LOT of people hate being told what to do. So if we as society are more sustainable as a whole, then I have to ask the same question, how do you get people to listen? To care?

  • Cossioj14

    Guilt eduction struck me during this article. MOst people are guilted into giving for the company by what they have contributed to, or what the company says they have contributed to and its a shame that that money doesnt go to what its suppose to go to.

  • Abby2017

    We all do have a lot of greed and pride. I like how you mentioned that. We like to say we don’t , but in reality we do. What if we did only use the resources we needed and we didn’t over use them?

  • DuchAM21

    Ken brought up a few facts that were eye opening, especially that our current world population of over 7 billion is two to three times that of what it sustainable. I think that companies are trying harder than ever before to become more energy efficient and more green. However, our society still has a lot of work to do when it comes to preserving the environment and natural resources.

  • hansends21

    I always tell people when they think they cannot do something, that everything that has ever happened has started with just one person. You have to think how much you care about something, if it is not enough to push or tell people about, you must not care too much.

  • ClaytonEI08

    Appreciate the insight. I agree that sustainability starts with the person themselves. I like that you are creating awareness and feel like there are people trying to create more efficient ways and promoting going green, but I still don’t believe that the majority of people are buying into it just yet. I don’t know how we would go about getting more people to buy in, but that should never stop those that believe in it from continuing promotion.

  • This is an amazing article and really hits home for me in many ways. I have always wondered where we stood on the global stage of consumption. The issue, in my opinion, isn’t in the amount of food we are consuming or producing. The problem is the amount of mouths we are continuously making. If we can slow the population down to 0.5 per person, then maybe we can slow down the negative affects of our carbon footprint.

  • I agree with you, guilt education should prove to be paramount in the efforts to change the issue. How do you propose that they police the money being donated if not apart of it?

  • I agree with you. It does start with one person. So many great things happen when someone STARTS something. But to win a war, a captain needs and army. They cannot hope to fight the “good fight” alone.

  • I agree with you except for the fact that you are neglecting the fact that humans are the planet’s biggest, most harmful parasite. Once in a while we wake up and decide to give back. But we are consumers by nature. And if we continue to reproduce ate this rate, we will consume everything like a swarm of wild locust.

  • Agreed. It’s a shame that this still happens. But what do you expect? Humans are naturally selfish. We care for others at times, but we also make an effort to help another. We take, take take and don’t give enough.

  • danlorusso

    I like this post a l to because it highlights some of the issues we have on our planet such as the growing population. One thing I will say is that I think it is difficult for us to re think our relationship with certain resources. Water is an example of this. I think we need to place some regulations on water in area impacted by droughts. The problem is this has been a resource we are used to having full access to. It would be difficult for people to get on board with monitoring the amount of water they use per day.

  • Kade Hanson

    Sustainability is hugely important in this world but though my marketing class I have found its hard to make that happen. Gaining awareness about issues is one of the hardest things to do and there are strategies that have been found to work for that. We need a huge motivation behind a cause or else sustainability will only be a luxury.

  • Victor Ribakare

    People tend to use things without thinking about it until things become scarce, then they start to panic. We all need to stop this trend as mentioned above. When we are sustainable, we do not have to worry about things running out because there is a plan in play to keep things rolling.

  • Chris White

    This article reminds me a lot about a video called Dear Future Generations: Sorry. It really is beyond time that we start embracing responsibility for our own actions as well as the actions of our previous generations and start working to create feasible and effective solutions that help us start climbing out of this sinkhole. Even though we need to make massive changes to the ways many corporations operate, it is also important to make changes on the individual level to start enacting a more sustainable lifestyle.

  • Chris White

    We definitely do have a lot of work left to do in this regard. It is going to be a difficult challenge changing the current thinking and behavioral strategy away from putting profit over people towards something that takes long-term sustainability into account. Whether it is our energy consumption, pollution, or agricultural systems, we are not thinking or acting beyond the very short term.

  • Michael Kaelin

    I agree with you completely Kade. Bringing awareness on environmental issues can be difficult because of the conflicting facts that are given regarding the state of our consumption and environment as a whole. In order for changes to be made, there must be a collective group of people with the goal of making our planet more sustainable as well as having the power in order to do so.

  • Logan Coffman

    Thanks for your thoughts Michael and Kade. As a marketing student I often give a lot of thought as to how to use the powerful tools of marketing to address important issues. I’d encourage you to check out this post on a related note – http://unreasonable.is/learning-from-the-profession-we-love-to-hate/

  • Robert Neville

    “It’s only when we don’t have access to these things that we suddenly realize how exposed and dependent we are on them.” I found this to be extremely true and shows that with out much of this technology we would not be able to survive. I believe that is time for a dramatic change and instead of focusing on how technology can make our lives better but use it to make out lives more sustainable and start a more forward looking process.

  • Emily Butler

    I think this is really important. And the fact that a version of this was posted over two years ago and the world hasn’t seen significant change is scary. If it was a problem years ago it is only going to get worse. In my opinion people don’t take sustainability seriously enough and ultimately, it’s going to be our downfall. It’s going to create so many more problems in the future than it already is and that’s the terrifying truth. This article really shows how important sustainability is for businesses two years ago and especially today.

  • Rachel Rodriguez

    I think this is something really important and something more people should start to think about. I do think that there is a problem right now defining what sustainability is. There are so many definitions and implications, and these can mean a multitude of different things to different people. So I think that before any of this can happen we first need a common definition as to what sustainability is, and then we can build off that.

  • James Robertson

    I agree with this article in that it is difficult to define sustainability, but only because technology is advancing each day at a fast rate. Technology is such a huge factor when discussing sustainability. On the other hand, it is also exciting because like was said in the article the conditions are really good for people to rethink their relationship with money, resources, and the taking care of our planet.

  • Claire Salvucci

    I think one of the best suggestions in this article is to get businesses involved in sustainable movements. A large amount our lives are spent at work. If we are able to spend this time in an environmentally sustainable way, we can take not only make profit, but renew the environment.

  • Ann Matthews

    I agree with Claire. The statistic I found interesting was “With a world population 3x what is sustainable, it’s time to get serious about managing an imbalanced planet.” Since the population is much higher than what can be sustainable, we need to start making a more conscious effort to become more sustainable as part of the human race. Starting with businesses is a great way to do this because as Claire said, a large amount of our lives are spent at work.

  • Samuel Cannon

    Sustainability is the key to success for any new business today. Companies such as Patagonia have demonstrated through multiple marketing campaigns the tremendous efforts they take as a company to promote sustainability. Customers are willing to pay slightly more for a product they know is bettering the economy, but also our lives and our planet long term. If we don’t do what we can now to promote sustainability, then we can not ensure that the resources we value so much today will be around for future generations.

  • Jac Williamson

    This article brings up really great points. We do need people to listen and take an interest, but how? How do you draw the attention of millennials to the topic and inspire them to act on it? I think our generation (millennials) are growing up in a society that is much more conscious and aware of the fact we need to be more sustainable, which will hopefully transfer over to decisions we make in the work field to make an impact.

  • Michael Potter

    I really like this article about sustainability and that there shouldn’t be a defeatist attitude about it, although thats what we have today most of the time. I agree that there is a need for change in the way we think about these issues and also a need for change in our relationships with local businesses. However, I don’t exactly agree with how the article is left very open-ended. We are addressing the problem and saying that there is a need for change. But we need a plan! “Rethinking” and “Get(ting) people to listen” and other thought-process-based movements can only do so much. I think discussions like this need to include hard information and details on the “how” and not so much the “what” and “why”. Love the idea though.

  • Logan Coffman

    Hi Samuel,

    Thanks so much for your thoughts. Patagonia is such a great example of a company exemplifying the triple, bottom lin, long-term view by taking the planet into account as a stakeholder. I certainly feel like there is a huge push across industries to market to consumers that have a regard for consciously sourced products. Check out this post on a similar topic – http://unreasonable.is/how-to-build-a-brand-that-matters/

  • Mitsuyo

    The article has made me rethink of the question again, “What is really required of the sustainable ways of living?” There seem to be a lot more to explore in search of “sustainable” ways of our living both individual and societal levels. It also made me think a lot of potential opportunities and values of “ecopreneurship”.
    I think there is little doubt that the transition to sustainable development will need ecopreneurship on a grand scale, and entrepreneurs can be a vehicle for social change. With ecopreneurs as eco-conscious change agent, more and more entrepreneurs may realize that the only business worth pursuing in the long run is green business. Ecopreneurship has the potential to create new products, services and technologies needed to tackle with the environmental issues.
    From this perspective, it links with Schumpeter’s vision of entrepreneurial activity as “a process of creative destruction” whereby entrepreneurs create new products, processes and working methods that challenge and overturn conventional methods. It also implicates a potential of entrepreneurs who can play a crucial role in adoption of green business practices by demonstrating the economic benefits resulting from being eco-conscious.
    In today’s world, we witness the development of new business forms where emerging green entrepreneurs or ecopreneurs are seeking to combine environmental awareness with business success and conventional entrepreneurial activity. The boundaries are also becoming blurred between the commercial and social forms of green entrepreneurship, and green entrepreneurship has become transformative at both individual and societal levels.
    Green entrepreneurship could potentially form the basis of new forms of environmental progress within the economy if its business deals with environmental issues and if its innovation substantially influences the mass market. At the same time, many pioneers of the sustainable development movement argue that the course of the global free market economy absolutely needs to change. So again, as Ken highlighted, it really starts from rethinking our relationship with our money and resources.