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Sustainability is a Journey

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Ramona Madhosingh-Hector, UF/IFAS Extension, Pinellas County, Urban Sustainability Agent

Each January, we go through the ritual of setting or identifying new goals and directions for personal and professional benefit.  Sometimes we write it down, sometimes we share it with our friends and family but most times, it’s at the back of our mind and we hope to have it done by December 31.  Perhaps, this year, you set your sights on becoming more educated about sustainability and sustainable actions. 

Sustainability is a journey, it doesn’t happen overnight but each and every step you take does result in some short and long term gains.  We know that change is difficult but with knowledge comes power and embarking on an educational journey about sustainability can help to eliminate some of the barriers associated with adopting change.   UF/IFAS Extension is offering Sustainable Floridians SM, a 6-week training program that focuses on sustainability and empowers you to become an active participant in making Florida a better place to live, work and play.

Can you identify the three legs of the sustainability stool? Are you already going green at home?  Can you do more? Sustainable Floridians SM can provide the answers, strategies, and resources to help you along the way.

Let’s briefly explore sustainability and how it can affect your individual and/or household triple bottom line.  Sustainability is typically viewed as a 3-legged stool that focuses on the environment, economy and society.  It is also commonly referred to as the 3Ps – People, Planet, Profit – and likened to the Triple Bottom Line tagline that we often hear of in the business world. 

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Environment (Planet)

Sustainable actions like using your reusable shopping bag or switching to CFL or LED bulbs promote resource conservation which protects our environment.  Why is this important?  When you use a reusable bag, it means that no new resources will be used to make that paper or plastic bag that you normally get at the grocery store.  When you replace your incandescent bulb with a CFL or LED, you won’t have to purchase bulbs as frequently and both the planet and your check book will thank you!

Economy (Profit)

Sustainable actions often result in saving money.  Switching to CFL bulbs can save 75% on your electric bill while using a power strip to control phantom energy can save 8-10% on overall electric bill.  On the average Florida home bill (1100kW), that amounts to $140 in an entire year!

Individuals and households are often concerned about the economics of buying food, paying bills and saving for a rainy day.  By making behavioral changes and purchasing smart products, you can save money and protect the planet at the same time!

Society (People)

People are the key to sustainability and what we define as important is what we actually work towards sustaining. People often value the outdoors, spending time with family and friends, and serving in the community.  Protecting the environment and becoming economically savvy allows us to spend more time doing things with the people we cherish. The “stuff” we have doesn’t replace the memories we will create – those will last forever.

So if you’re interested in learning more about sustainability sign up for Sustainable Floridians SM and join others on this journey for information.  You’ll learn how to create a personal action plan and you’ll be connected to individuals and organizations already working on sustainability issues.   

Sustainability is a journey and it doesn’t matter where or when you start but it matters how the journey ends. UF/IFAS Extension will offer Sustainable Floridians SM at Weedon Island Preserve beginning Wednesday April 9 with a preview session on Wednesday April 2 at 10 am. 

Check this link for more information and reserve your seat now.

Resources:

University of Florida/IFAS Extension, Living Green

University of Florida/IFAS Extension, Sustainable Living Handbooks