It's time to embrace sustainable lifestyles

27 August 2015

Changing times and changing world calls for a change in consumer behavior, consumption patterns and the need to embrace sustainable use of natural resources. Most of the earth’s resources are finite despite the looming over population crisis which depend on the same few resources to meet their needs and wants.

Sustainability is all about meeting current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It comprises of the people, culture, our environment, jobs, money and a lot more. Living sustainably encompasses living within the means of our natural systems (environment) and ensuring that our lifestyles don’t harm other people (society and culture). It’s a big idea to get your head around, for all of us. It’s really about thinking about where your food, clothes, energy and other products come from and deciding whether you should buy and consume these things.

The environmental crisis affects everyone on the planet, but the degree to which the inhabitants of different parts of the world contribute to this crisis depends on the level of their economic development and their consumption patterns.

Every action has both negative and positive impacts but the latter’s impact are more evident in our current world. It is argued that most of the changes we see today is as a result of anthropogenic causes and mans’ negligence of nature. In the wake of climate change, massive environmental degradation and natural catastrophes, for example the issue of flooding in Kenya, we are therefore forced by Mother Nature to have an attitudinal and behavioral change in our consumption patterns. Therefore, unless we change some of our lifestyle patterns, the world will face unprecedented levels of environmental degradation and human suffering.

In matters of human health and in comparison between poor and rich, it is observed that most of the people with the means to afford a decent living are battling with lifestyle diseases as well as occupational lifestyle disease. Lifestyle diseases characterize those diseases whose occurrence is primarily based on the daily habits of people and are a result of an inappropriate relationship of people with their environment. The main factors contributing to lifestyle diseases include bad food habits, physical inactivity, wrong body posture, and disturbed biological clock. For a nation to realize sustainable development and economic growth, it needs a healthy population.

The economy and people’s livelihoods are highly dependent on Natural resources in Kenya and particularly the Lake Victoria Basin. These provide crucial sources of income to huge sectors of the population

Current Natural Resource management practices are no longer adequate to meet food needs or maintain the resource base in the region. The poverty rate, environmental quality, disaster preparedness and response, food security and economic development are intricately linked in the region, requiring an integrated approach to management of natural resources, which is difficult without an intimate understanding of the local economic, social, cultural and ecological context.

SusWatch Kenya is currently implementing a project dubbed “Strengthening the Advocacy role of local communities in the Lake Victoria Basin in Natural resource management” funded by Sustainable Energy- a Danish Organization, which seeks to empower local communities to collectively lobby and advocate for involvement in key decision making processes with regards to Natural Resource Management.

Through increasing the role of local people in decision making and managing their natural resources there will be an enhancement in the development of policies based on the needs of the local population and therefore improving NRM.

A probable key recommendation on living sustainably is increasing levels of awareness on the same. Issues closely related to sustainable lifestyles and which also need increased awareness on include: sustainable development, reorienting education/ curriculum for a sustainable future, accepting challenges, citizenship education, health education, consumer education, indigenous knowledge and sustainability, women and sustainability, population and development, poverty alleviation, globalization, climate change, community problem solving, disaster preparedness, environmental studies, among others. The future is in our hands.

I dream of a society where we will all be able to account for any detrimental action we undertake that in one way or another puts the environment at stake. What is your dream?
The environment is me and you, lets protect ourselves.

This way, future generations will enjoy the resources that mother earth has richly bestowed upon us.
In conclusion, I will quote Paul Tsongas , “Journey with me to a true commitment to our environment. Journey with me to the serenity of leaving to our children a planet in equilibrium”

Author: Adebe Trizar