As I learned in my Natural Resources Consumption and Sustainability class in 2008, the definition of sustainability is "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to be able to meet their own needs." I am always striving to follow this ideal. Whether is it reducing the amount of waste that I am throwing away, reusing the containers and bottles that many would consider garbage, or recycling aluminum and plastic that can no longer be used, I hope to reduce my impact on the environment.
Looking at sustainability from the perspective of a single person can be pretty straightforward, but looking it in the context of an entire community with trade-offs between economic growth, social equity, and environmental integrity, sustainability can become much more complicated.
The sustainability studies minor was created in 2006 by the Ecosystem Science and Sustainability Initiative (ESSI). The ESSI drew together faculty members from colleges and departments across the Twin Cities campus to develop and implement sustainability programs in undergraduate education, interdisciplinary research, and outreach to teachers and journalists. The minor immerses students in the study of real-world problems from a variety of academic perspectives, incorporating disciplines from across the natural, social and applied sciences.
Students, faculty, and staff at the U of M understand the importance of sustainability, its impact on our lives, and the benefits that an education in sustainability offers. To learn more, check out the sustainability studies minor website!