Sustainability is a beautiful term, and one that inevitably comes up in conservations about being kinder to the planet. The environmental overtones are generally assumed, even when we hear it out of context.
But the word at its core is much simpler: the ability to be sustained. The journey of this basic concept into an eco buzzword followed a logical progression; the planet cannot sustain our current lifestyle for much longer. We are already seeing the consequences of our resource exploitation, disposal addiction, and emission production.
So in its most common current application, "sustainability" indicates a movement away from these things. It's about making changes to our lifestyle, our political policies, our business practices that the planet *is* able to sustain moving forward. But those changes have to be sustainable, too. Luckily, we have an advantage.
What's the best way to stick to a new habit? With accountability and support from your community! Change doesn't happen in a vacuum. To achieve true sustainability will require major cultural, societal, and economic shifts, but all of those start at the individual level and local levels.
Share your goals, motivation, and advice with friends and family; pay attention to and hold accountable your political representatives at the local, state, and federal levels; and vote with your dollars–shop locally when possible, support companies that are demonstrably committed to sustainability (not merely "greenwashed"), and when in doubt? Don't buy. Practice that connection to community and you may be surprised how many alternatives you find.