How Large Is Your Footprint? (Part III)
by Aimee Siegler
In part I and part II, I explored both personal and corporate responsibility for the environment. The bigger picture in this issue is sustainability1 . Sustainable is defined as “capable of being continued with minimal long-term effect on the environment.” The problem with this definition is that there are political issues in determining what is sustainable. Dennis Arter summarized Alan Bryden’s definition of sustainable development from his 2007 World Conference on Quality and Improvement keynote as the intersection of social integrity, environmental integrity, and economic growth.
Can we as individuals have an impact on creating a more sustainable future? Absolutely. Get involved in the process, whether it is writing letters to your elected officials, running for office, supporting NGOs or trade associations whose advocacy work matches your beliefs, or joining the conversation about quality and social responsibility. The contribution that quality professionals and practitioners bring to this process is critical thinking . While NGOs are passionate about their causes, and trade associations are protective of their members and their interests, looking at both sides and understanding the truth may be the key to sustainable development. We can choose to make a difference or it will happen in spite of us, but sustainable development is not optional if we want to have a future.
1 sustainable. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Retrieved July 15, 2008, from dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/sustainability.