5 Sustainability Goals for 2016

In 2015 I continued on the path toward personal and professional sustainability enlightenment. I am proud of my successes, but I am never one to rest on my laurels. In 2016 I want to up the ante, so here are my top-10 sustainability goals for the new year.

  1. Consume Less

This should be a goal for all of us, particularly those living in the United States. Our obsession with acquiring material goods has spun out of control. It has spawned many economic, environmental and social problems. It may eventually lead to the downfall of our society, but I try not to take the pessimistic point of view. Re-use what you can and before you make a new purchase ask yourself, “do I really NEED this?”.

2. Continue to use public transportation

This is my jam. In 2015, I relied almost exclusively on public transportation. I do not own a car, nor do I own a motorcycle. When I lived in Utah I took Trax to work and now that I live in San Francisco I rely on BART and Muni. I love public transportation. I can read, listen to music or people watch (which in San Francisco can be quite entertaining). It’s relaxing and certainly more affordable than owning a car. I’m patting myself on the back, but in order to earn a round of applause I need to keep up the good work in 2016.

3. Recycle properly

I’ll admit it. Occasionally I get lazy. San Francisco has a very easy-to-use recycling system, but it does require a little bit of effort. I always recycle, but sometimes I forget to remove lids, or wash containers before they go into the blue bin. Proper recycling is an easy fix, and all it takes is a bit of work on my part.

4. Become more politically active

2016 is a major election year, both nationally and locally. Unfortunately, some individual candidates and a major political party are living in a perverse fantasy land. Our collective goal should be to bring them back to reality! The environment is a key issue. And after successes at COP21 we should ride the wave of enthusiasm and keep up the pressure. This means voting for candidates that prioritize the environment and writing elected officials to explain your concerns. If you feel that you are two busy to send correspondence to your elected officials, please contact me and I will provide you with a form letter!

5. Become a sustainability advocate

Sustainability is a buzzword, but unfortunately many people have a limited understanding of the concept. When I tell people I am a sustainability professional they often confuse me with an environmental activist. My background is business, so I tend to explain things in those terms. I talk a lot about Shared Value and the Triple Bottom Line approach to business. Rather than preach a doomsday scenario, I tend to keep the conversation positive. Sustainability creates value. It can improve your company’s profits in the long-term, it can have a positive impact on your local community and it can limit damage to the environment. Use simple analogies, keep the concepts simple and remain positive!

Economy. Environment. Society.

Happy 2016 Everyone!