An illustration showing solar panels on a hillside

If it's good for the environment it's good for the planet

Sustainability is key to preventing climate change and protecting natural resources.

Pots on the boil

Imagine the world is a saucepan. Then fill the saucepan so it’s full of water. This represents all the world’s natural resources.

If you heat the saucepan on the hob, the water will eventually boil. If you leave it boiling long enough, all the water will evaporate.

That’s what we’ve been doing to our planet for the last 200 years. By living unsustainably and releasing too much carbon into the atmosphere, we’ve been gradually heating the world and using up our natural resources.

Global temperatures rose about 1.10C from 1901 to 2020. They’ll continue to rise unless we take urgent action to live more sustainably.

Basically, we need to do a lot less of the unsustainable activities that cause climate change and a lot more of the sustainable activities that prevent it.

It’s not just a question of stopping the world from getting warmer. Increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is dissolving into the oceans and making them more acidic. This is harmful for creatures and plants that live in the sea.

And unsustainable activities are causing many of the world’s precious resources to run out at an alarming rate. If this happens they can’t be replaced and won’t be there for future generations to use. These are known as non-renewable resources. They include things like coal, natural gas and oil.

Renewable resources also need protection. We should manage things so that resources are replaced at the same rate we use them. This is called the replacement rate.

Fish are a good example. Over-fishing can cause stocks to run out. So we should take fish from the ocean at a replacement rate that allows stocks to get back quickly to the same level as before. 

Sustainable resources are safe to use and won’t harm people or the environment, but unsustainable resources may be harmful.

Coal is an unsustainable resource that causes harm. There’s only so much coal in the ground so it will eventually run out if we keep mining it. It’s a fossil fuel that releases carbon and other pollutants into the air when burnt. This contributes to climate change and may cause disease.

We can all practise sustainability in our own lives.

This website is packed with examples of how people, groups and businesses in Hart are working to make a difference.

Read more about what’s happening locally, and how you can do your bit, in our At home, Community and Business sections.

Next section: How can I live more sustainably?

Coal in a brazier
Grass growing in untidy tufts

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