What Does Sustainability Mean to You? Part 1

With the People’s Climate Movement in full swing, and Greta Thunberg named TIME’s Person of the Year, sustainability became a hot button topic in 2019. However, with the concept of sustainability so complex and multi-faceted, Double A Paper wanted to kick off the new year by reflecting on the definition of sustainability and what it means to you.

What Does Sustainability Mean to You?

“It means continuously reducing the ‘unnecessary’ items in my life. Unnecessary car usage, food packaging, food waste, international travel, etc. I am also seriously considering a meat-free diet at this time.” – David, 46, Managing Director, Scotland

“Sustainability, to me, means being conscious and mindful of the carbon footprint I’m leaving on our beautiful mother Earth.” – Samantha, 25, Marketing Associate, Maryland

“To me, sustainability means to be consistent in how you live, behave, and treat yourself and others. It means that what is good for you is good for everyone else. To always try to find the good, or the lesson to be learned, in every person, event, or experience. It means to be honest and stay true to your course. Sustainability is not about money or status, it’s about wholesome goodness in everyone.” – Dawn, 55, Facilities Coordinator, Maryland

“Protecting our environmental and human health for as many generations as possible.” – C, 40, Florida

“To me, sustainability is everything from where we purchase our food to how we get our energy. As we collectively become more aware that our natural resources are finite, I look for ways to continue reducing our consumption. Local produce feeds local farmers and reduces emissions for transport. Energy efficiency reduces the consumption of fossil fuels polluting our air. Fuel-efficient cars, net zero energy philosophies, not wasting food, products, and water, all play a part in creating a sustainable society for my children and the generations that follow.” – Jessica, 41, Home Energy Efficiency Professional, Maryland

Sustainable Choices Made Everyday

When asked what our participants did every day to live a more sustainable lifestyle, we received a variety of great green answers: 

“I stopped buying bottled water and use a filter bottle at work and at home.” – Anthony, 43, Sales Executive, California
“I pack waste-free lunches daily.” – Remy, 14, Student, Maryland
“Use soap bars instead of soaps that come in pumps. I use paper towels sparingly, and use sponges to wipe down countertops. During the summer, fall, and spring months, we compost all of our organic waste. We use Nespresso coffee pods, which are 100% recyclable. While we are entertaining, we don’t use any paper products. We don’t buy single-use water in plastic water bottles. At restaurants, we tell our servers ‘no straws.’ We don’t have plastic straws at home. We take cloth grocery bags to the supermarket. Don’t use single-use plastic bags at the supermarket for produce. Use biodegradable dish sponges to wash dishes.” –  Virginia, 64, Business Owner, California
“Buy refillable cereals, cleaning, and laundry products from sustainable shops with zero packaging. Use bags for life. Use the train. Eat a vegan diet.”  – Rachel, 38, Speech & Language Therapist, United Kingdom 


Finding Sustainable Inspiration

Lastly, we asked our participants who they consider to be their sustainable role model and why. Surprisingly, and overwhelmingly, our participants shared reasons on why their own family and friends inspire them to live a greener lifestyle:
“My best friend, Tiffany. She’s a vegan animal activist! Tiffany makes it her mission to not use single-use plastics and harsh chemicals.” – Samantha, 25, Marketing Associate, Maryland
“My dad – although he passed away 15 years ago, I still strive each day to live a life that he would be proud of; being true and honest to myself and to everyone I come into contact with, pushing through pain without complaint and never giving up.” – Dawn, 55, Facilities Coordinator, Maryland
“My friend Trevor. He’s passionate about environmental causes and takes action to do better whenever he can.” – Reid, 29, Digital Marketing Coordinator, Maryland
“My friend Laura that lives in the UK, because she is working on creating a zero waste life with her family.” – Visa, 37, Life Coach, Maryland
“Our son, Jeffrey. Jeffrey participated in WOLFFing a few years back in Europe. When most young adults are into material accumulation, Jeffrey is a minimalist and true conservationist in all he does. He’s thoughtful in his use of water. He recycles & repurposes everything he uses and has affected our own daily usage of resources.” – Virginia, 64, Business Owner, California

This supports Double A Paper’s belief that the choices and decisions you make every day not only impact your daily life, but can reverberate in your network and community. Double A Paper thanks its participants for taking the time to share their thoughts and feelings, and we invite you to take part in our survey. Tell us what sustainability means to you, and you may be featured in an upcoming blog post next month!