refers to the ability of systems and processes to endure. The mainprinciple underlying sustainability is sustainable development, whichis made up of four pillars. These include culture, politics,economics and ecology. A healthy ecosystem is necessary for thesurvival of humans and other organisms. can bepromoted through practices that are environmentally friendly. Thesepractices should emphasize on environmental protection, adequateenvironmental resources management and chemical engineering that isenvironmentally friendly and sustainable. The approach forsustainability is a social challenge that involves national andinternational laws, individuals’ lifestyles, transport,infrastructure utilization, urban planning and ethical consumerism.Ways of ensuring sustainability are by reorganizing our lifestyles,including efforts to form sustainable habitats, eco-villages,eco-municipalities as well as sustainable cities. Additionally,sustainability can be realized through economic reappraisal,including sustainable agriculture, permaculture and green buildingand the use of new technologies that foster sustainability, such asgreen and renewable energy and sustainable housing projects (Adams &Jeanrenaud, 2008, n.p). Another aspect of sustainability is theability to secure and cater for the future generations. efforts are mainly aimed at maintaining a goodenvironmental integrity for the future generation.
Rewardingthe wrong activity is one of the major challenges. Studies show thatgovernments each year in subsidizing environmentally unjust andunsound practices in water, energy, agriculture, and transportationspend an estimated $700 billion. Efforts to use chemical engineeringin agriculture have led to improper practices that have put thenatural resource in jeopardy. Inappropriate chemical engineeringseems to be tilting the balance in the ecology, with many organismsand microorganisms that are vital in agricultural development beingdestroyed, leading to poor soil conditions in arable land. Theindustrial and commercial approach of agriculture seems to bepromoting soil degradation, a factor that has led to a poor soiltexture and integrity that has increased vulnerability to erosions,leaching and soil degradation.
Thecurrent economic systems are rewarding unsustainable economicpractices, leading to the prolonged pathology of the status quo,maintaining the power structure, monopolizing resources, anddecreasing opportunities for better systems designed and built toserve people correctly and facilitate environmental sustainability inways that are more humane. Some of the systems have a selfishinclination, with more emphasis put on the economic advantage ofvarious projects initiated by these systems instead of carefulanalysis to ensure that economic progress does not interfere withsustainability.
ensures cost reduction or avoidance. Keeping resources such asmachinery well maintained is one of the ways entrepreneurs use toreduce unseen costs of repairs and improvements. Long-termsustainable efforts such as adopting practices that encourage goodecological balance can also be beneficial to enterprises, especiallyin the agricultural sector. These practices ensure that naturalresources are well-utilized to avoid any wastage and ensure thatmaximum benefits are accrued. It also assures investors of long-termproductivity and profitability (Blewitt, 2008, n.p).
Sustainableefforts by different brands on the market are one of the surest waysto strengthen a brand and increase sales. Currently, corporate socialresponsibility is highly emphasized in various industries andconsumers have developed more interest in observing organizationsthat care about their social welfare. Organizations can not only gaina new market advantage, but also maintain their old market advantageand promote loyalty through sustainability. It is a way of reassuringconsumers that their needs will be comfortably met in the long-term.
and Housing: Habitat for Humanity Experience
Housingis one of the basic factors. It is a social condition that not onlydefines the quality but also the welfare of the people and placeinvolved. Therefore, housing is central to sustainable development.Housing also forms part of the relationship between human beings andtheir environment. Housing is directly affected by the sustainableenvironment in that the requirements of housing such as furniture,building material, natural resources such as land, among other inputsare derived from the natural environment. On the other hand, theimpacts of the environment such as natural disasters, weatherchanges, wildlife, energy and water affect housing. These elementsare very important in ensuring sustainable development.
Myexperiences that I derived from learning under Habitat for Humanity,where a lot of emphasis is put on adequate and sustainable housingfor all human beings, I learnt that the endless interconnecting webbetween a sustainable environment and housing is enshrined in thesustainable housing policy. Housing not only affects the physicalsecurity of people, but also affects their physical and mentalhealth. A good shelter, which is one of the four basic needs everyperson needs to gain access, serves as a protection fromenvironmental adversities. This includes diseases, insecurity andadverse weather conditions. Habitat for Humanity believes that it isa basic right for people in the world to have basic housingfacilities that would keep him or her safe and dry. However, researchshows that a number of societies in Africa, Middle East and someparts of Europe are in dire need of proper housing. It is, therefore,one of the initiatives of these organizations to ensure that as manypeople as possible access sustainable housing. While the organizationtries to ensure that a big portion of the global population enjoysbasic housing facilities, it also emphasizes its action onobservation of environmental policies that would ensure a sustainableprocess.
Myexperience in service learning has educated me a number of factsabout the global housing conditions, especially in Eastern Europe,Middle East and Africa. In Central Asia, about 50% of the urbanpopulation lives in informal settlements. In Hungary, more than 1.2million people are subject to overcrowded living conditions. InKyrgyzstan, less than a fifth of the rural population can accessclean running water in their homes, meaning more that 80% of therural population is at risk of contracting water-related diseasessuch as waterborne, water-dispersed, water-washed and water-basedinfections.
Accordingto the UN, more than 1.6 billion people globally, which representsmore than 20% of the world population has poor living conditions,while an additional 100 million people are homeless. If nothing isdone about the current housing condition, the number might increaseto about 2 billion (Habitat for Humanity, 2015, n.p). There is aclose interconnection between poverty, poor housing and environmentalsustainability. It is difficult to observe environmentalsustainability and sustainable development with such a numberaccessing poor environmental conditions. Informal settlements such asslums seen in these counties have little or no regard towardssustainable development. Due to pressure on the natural resources,there is poor implementation and observation of policies that willensure sustainable development. Pressure on natural resources such asland has led to poor urban planning, which is usually related tounplanned or unregulated deforestation. Additionally, poor housingfacilities provide little room for proper waste disposal. Footage ofthe housing conditions in the East African city of Nairobi that Ifound in Habitat for Humanity showed the state of housing in one ofAfrica’s leading cities. More than 50% of the city dwellers live incompromised conditions characterized by improper waste disposal,disease-prone conditions and general poor housing structures (Ngayu,2011, p2-4).
Poorhousing, which relates closely to poor waste disposal, has led topollution of water sources in various parts of the world. In Nairobi,for example, I learnt that the main river in the city, Nairobi River,is extremely polluted, leaving the residents with no other option butto rely on the water supply from outside the city, most of which isnot enough. Poor waste disposal has led to massive pollution of theriver where human excreta, household waste and also industrial wasteis dumped in the river without proper regulation. Here are no effortsfor pretreatment because the economy is already burdened with heavierproblems such as improving the housing situation, corruption andmismanagement of public resource among other challenges. This has ledto widespread water shortages in the city where more than half thepopulation accesses clean water for only three days within a week. Ithas also increased the incidence and prevalence of environmentaldiseases such as cholera, typhoid, malaria, schistosomiasis and otherdiarrhea conditions (Ngayou, 2011, n.p).
is affected by a number of factors, which include informalsettlements,informal and inappropriate land tenures, poor quality housing unitsand use impermanent housing materials for construction. Additionally,there is also poor urban planning, leading to poor transport andsewerage network, inadequate physical infrastructure and servicesincluding drainage, water supply, sanitation, electricity and streetlighting. The poor clarity regarding scale, in addition to the lackof proper knowledge regarding life in informal settlements, has alimited sound and a clear understanding of the slums and itsdynamics. Such a partial knowledge and understanding might be a vitalreason for the limited or total failure of achieving success in theemployment of the previous programs (Ngayu, 2011, n.p).
Accordingto sources and information from Habitat for Humanity, poverty housingaffects sustainability by affecting the productivity of the peopleliving in such conditions. It affects their health, job prospects,their ability to make a living and the general well-being. It is evenworse because the future of the society is not guaranteed sincechildren are the most affected when it comes to sustainabilitychallenges. Most of the casualties in the informal settlements arechildren because of their vulnerable immunity In addition to pooreducation and awareness regarding the environment and sustainability.Health is not the only concern, as studies have shown that thechildren have a low tendency to achieve their full potential due tosocial problems. These children miss school and have learningdifficulties, which affects their employment competitiveness in thejob market in the future. This ensures a vicious cycle of povertyhousing in the generation. These facts undermine one of the pillarsof sustainability, which is the focus on good future generationsbecause overcrowding and poor housing have been noted to have alasting negative effect on children throughout their lives. Thus, itis a threat to sustainability. Habitat for Humanity has enabled me tolearn that provision of basic but adequate housing plays an importantrole in ensuring that a family achieves sustainable development(Habitat for Humanity, 2015, n.p). Apart from just accessing a goodshelter, the families have increased health and job prospects thereis increased dignity and pride for their identity, and there isstability for the children who represent the future generation. Inaddition, the health, physical safety and security are improved byproper housing.
plays an important role in human lives. As part of the ecology, it isour responsibility to ensure that sustainability is upheld not onlyfor our benefit, but also for so for the benefit of the futuresociety.
Adams,W., M., & Jeanrenaud, S., J. (2008). Transitionto : Towards a Humane and Diverse World. Gland,Switzerland: IUCN. 108.
Blewitt,J. (2008). Understanding Sustainable Development. London: Earthscan
Habitatfor Humanity. (2015). The housing needs in Europe, Middle East andAfrica.
Ngayu,M. N. (2011). Sustainable Urban Communities: Challenges andOpportunities in Kenya’s Urban Sector Margaret N.