What is Sustainability?


Anne Baker speaking to faculty and students on sustainability at a Brownbag workshop on Apr. 14.

Chelsey Schallig, Staff member

It’s not often the topic of “sustainability” comes up in a conversation while your hanging out with friends or family. A few thoughts may pop into your head about recycling, reusable items, and maybe big piles of compost.

Anne Baker, member of the Diablo Valley College sustainability committee, hosted a Brown bag workshop in the Student Union, April 14. Baker spoke to students and factually about maintaining sustainability on and off campus.

The chatter about sustainability is happening, but not as much as some would hope. Sustainability is defined as an ability or capacity of something to be maintained or to sustain itself. It’s about taking what we need to live now and using it without jeopardizing the potential for people in the future.

“When people live sustainably, they’re living within the means of our natural systems and ensuring that the lifestyle they follow doesn’t harm other people,” said Baker.

We don’t really think about where our food, clothes, energy and other products come from and whether we should buy or consume these things. Our lifestyles are placing harsh pressures on natural systems. The ultimate goal to maintaining sustainability locally and globally is to be responsible of how we use natural resources and to improve the well-being of the environment.

Learning about sustainability can help find new solutions because we need to make sure growth is achieved without compromising both equity and opportunity for humans both present and in the future.

DVC is doing their part to help the environment. The commons project showcases sustainability development and includes four primary program elements including the Student Services, Food Services, Culinary Arts program and the central quad area.

Many of the green features in the four primary program elements are created out of synergies between the buildings and landscape, including capturing water run-off that is treated in storm water gardens and re-using for plumbing within the buildings.

“Nature will endure with or without humans. Every decision we make is important because it effects the long term,” said Baker.