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Sustainable Jargon: Defining Climate Change Terminology

Conservation. Sustainability. Corporate Social Responsibility. All these terms get thrown around, but you might not have had the proper context of these high-scoring Scrabble words. So here is a bit more of a deep-dive into this terminology; how they are concisely defined, how they differ from one another, and how you can act on each of them specifically and give yourself an ethical pat on the back for saving the planet!

Conservation

This focuses on the scientific aspects of preserving the natural world, both plants and animals and everything in between. They key here, though, are the three ‘goals’ that it is usually linked with1. These are:

1) To investigate the diversity of the living world (sometimes referred to as Biodiversity);

2) To analyse the effects of human activities on species, communities and ecosystems;

3) To develop practical interdisciplinary approaches to protecting and restoring biodiversity.

Now, without getting even more technical, these 3 points are really the starting points for creating actionable solutions to the current situation. The 2nd goal is really the crux of where we stand, and what we can change. Large-scale changes such as the Industrial Revolution have been the most eye-catching examples, but as long as you are actively making a difference in your own life, then the ol’ butterfly effect will eventually take hold, and your neighbours will be jealous of your stacked recycling bin!

So in each activity or decision we take, they all play a part in these 3 goals of Conservation, and changing our own actions will certainly make a difference.

Sustainability

As a more general principal, this core of preserving the planet revolves around simply being able for us to co-exist with the Earth’s biosphere (the global range of living organisms).

Lucky for you, the rule of 3 also applies here, with the 3 Pillars:

With the diagram, you can see that they not only have their own significant role, but link directly to each other to provide the overall results of maximum Sustainability. Through the Economic pillar, it illustrates how businesses or countries should use their resources to align with little or no impact on the sustainable future of the world. The Social Pillar involves our ability as an overall society, to focus on a communal well-being in order to comfortably achieve these goals2. The third pillar (you guessed it, Environmental) highlights the impact of using natural resources, both how we extract them and how we dispose of them. So this can be through what we eat, where we visit as well as things immediately available to us that we use (e.g electronic devices). Although this last one sounds like it should be the main focus, it still needs the balance with the other two pillars to ultimately achieve full sustainability2.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Some of you reading are probably recovering from several work calls and meetings on the next big project your company has going. Well hopefully there are more conversations linked to the actual impact of the business on the communities and environments it is involved with. It is not a mandatory feature right now, but I’m sure you can agree that it is the people at the top who can have the biggest impact on the way we live and affect the natural world. Something to consider with this too is that it has been known to be a method of self-promotion without actually considering the actions the company are proclaiming – this may just be down the cynical grapevine though. This is where the workers can come in (here’s looking at you, reader). Not only does CSR help create a sustainable business and brilliant brand image, but the employees will be able to get behind this and create a sense of togetherness (Alexa, play High School Musical’s ‘All In This Together).

Ignoring the rise of the Disney fandom creeping in, this hasn’t been to accuse anyone of not taking actions or not knowing about these concepts; just like the greatest method of reducing climate change, this article has simply been to explore the real depths of what it means to ‘Save Our Planet’. So I would actually like to thank you for all the little things you’ve done so far to be more sustainable, taking care about how your work-life plays a role in all this and be mindful of efforts towards Conservation.

Do carry on with the Sustainable Inquisition (possibly a future documentary title) and make your voice heard where possible, because awareness is the best weapon right now to take on the challenge of climate change.

1 http://www.biologyreference.com/Ce-Co/Conservation.html

2 https://circularecology.com/sustainability-and-sustainable-development.html

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