If something is sustainable it should last forever.  To sustain something is to keep and support it for the future.


Sustainable sources

When thinking about sustainability it is important that we think about where things come from and how they get to us.  You might have done an exercise at school about food miles.  Is it more sustainable to eat apples from the UK or from New Zealand?  The answer is the UK, unless you live in New Zealand.  To get to the UK an apple from New Zealand has travelled thousands of miles and used up a lot of energy in aeroplanes, ships and lorries to get to the supermarket!  Buying food from far away places uses up non-renewable fossil fuels and adds to pollution.

Much of our food production is also unsustainable and can lead to issues such as over fishing.  For an article that looks at how we can change the way we eat see the Future of Food.  Find out why worm crisps and seaweed soup might be coming to a menu near you!

Local products and services are usually better, if you can’t buy local products try to buy from companies that value the environment and do all they can not to pollute it or produce waste.  Some items have logos which help you to make environmentally-friendly choices.  One of these is the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo which means that the product has come from a forest that is managed sustainably.  Better yet, look out for recycled products that don’t require new resources.

Another symbol to look out for is the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).  Over fishing is huge problem all over the world as more and more people eat fish.  We can help the fish of the world by only choosing fish that have come from sustainable sources.

What about water?  It’s very easy to think that we have an endless supply of water but this isn’t true.  The average adult in the UK uses 150 litres of water per day in comparison to some places where 5-10 litres is more the norm.  With a rising population, more droughts and flooding expected, the demand for water is likely to increase, leading to shortages.  We need to use it more carefully.  Find out more about Water in the free download below.

Being sustainable isn’t always easy but with a bit of research we can choose the right products and companies that help make a difference and have less impact on the world.  For example shoes that are made with FSC rubber from sustainable forests, or organic natural fibres.  The rubber is sustainable because it comes from a forest that is looked after, where its wildlife is protected and managed responsibly.  Organic natural fibres are a sustainable material because they reduce the need for pesticides and herbicides which pollute the earth and have bad effects on wildlife.

Read More: Sustainable energy

Related Resources

Please donate £1 to help YPTE to continue its work of inspiring young people to look after our world.

Donate £1 X