What is a sustainable environment

Berlin (dpa) - The Duden defines sustainability quite succinctly: "Principle according to which no more may be consumed than can grow back, regenerate and be made available again in the future." For example, only cut as much wood in the forest as can grow back.

Many people today think of saving energy and green electricity when they hear the word sustainability. But there is much more to this than triple-glazed windows or solar panels.

Sharing and passing on: Whether it's a car, apartment or clothing - anyone who shares or passes something on with others behaves sustainably. Because this means that less has to be produced and cultivated. In addition to raw materials and other resources, this also saves climate-damaging CO2. An example are second-hand shops or the food banks that distribute food that is no longer needed in many cities.

Filling gaps: More and more nature is being built around cities, with buildings and apartments standing empty in many places. That is not sustainable, and space is also a scarce resource. Projects such as the Bremen ZwischenZeitZentrale ensure that unused areas and buildings find residents or managers. The people of Bremen received an award from the Council for Sustainable Development for this.

Use skills: Some have something - for example time and life experience. The others need something - for example help with learning. Projects such as "Senior Partners in School" or finding mentoring partners bring older people and schoolchildren together. The resources of the elderly are used, the younger generation benefits from them. That too is sustainable.

Acting fairly: If producers of food and other products get a fair wage, that prevents exploitation, but it is also sustainable. As the federal government stipulates in its national sustainability strategy, it also includes "social cohesion and international responsibility".

Breaking down barriers: Social sustainability means that everyone can move freely in public - even if they are in wheelchairs. The Council for Sustainable Development has therefore awarded the BPASS initiative, which aims to make accessibility measurable, as well as the online directory Wheelmap.org, which shows wheelchair-accessible places.