Defining a Culture of Sustainability

The word “culture” can be difficult to define simply because it can mean so many different things. For many, culture means fine art, theater, music and gourmet food. For scientists, on the other hand, culture often refers to a colony of bacteria growing in a petri dish.

Culture also refers to the customs and attitudes that a group of people have in common, including such things as government, language, entertainment, attitudes and beliefs. An example of this type of culture is the blossoming “culture of sustainability.”

Although sustainablity has many aspects, a culture of sustainability as we are using it here refers to the knowledge that there are things we can all do every day — on both an individual and group basis — that will help to conserve our natural resources and protect our environment both now and for future generations. Individuals who are part of such a culture individually and collectively encourage others to follow their lead so that sustainability becomes a shared value and an automatic part of behavior.

A culture of sustainability can involve a number of strategies, from simply remembering to turn off lights when not needed to instituting sustainable purchasing policies for an entire facility, ensuring that the greenest and most sustainable products are chosen. As more and more people adopt a new awareness regarding the importance of sustainability, this “culture” will likely become stronger and spread further throughout the world.