While on vacation on the Gulf of Mexico, I decided to take an early morning swim alone. I marveled at the white sand and the tranquility of my surroundings. However, I did not see the danger. Several days earlier I had walked out to a sand bar several yards away from the shore. That day I found myself being adventurous by going further out. I swam to the side of the sand bar and found myself in danger. Luckily, an experienced swimmer saved me that day. Likewise, America is in danger…but some don’t know it.
Global trends make sustainability a difficult objective for most organizations. The year 2011 was a vintage time for massive protesters, from the awakening of the Arab world to the defeat of evil tyrants. Europe struggled to maintain financial stability while country after country faltered. Japan suffered its biggest nuclear catastrophe.
Even a Super Power like America has not been exempted from this financial crisis. The United States economy struggles along with its 15 trillion dollar national debt and a 9% unemployment rate choking the country. With political gridlock happening on a regular basis, members of Congress, President Obama, media outlets, and frustrated constituents worry about the plight about the country. Standard & Poor’s downgrading of America’s AAA rating for the first time in history was a quick wake up call to everyone.
Last year, big financial institutions such as Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase & Company announced that approximately 75,000 employees would be laid off. Political groups, like the Tea Party Movement, attempted to challenge the political establishment with a return to fiscal responsibility of America’s debt. Occupy Wall Street protesters attacked corporate greed and corruption as the catalysis for income inequity and employment opportunities.
Sustainability is important but often difficult to define. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines the term as “everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment.” One simple definition is the ability to use resources continuously without any long-term depletion. There aren’t many things that are possible to be sustained without proper planning.
Discuss the ramifications of any negative consequences.
© 2012 by Daryl D. Green