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Sustainability and Culture

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Sustainability is often defined by cultural changes that allow humans to continue prospering on earth without causing significant damage to the environment. Many of today’s manufacturing and consumer practices contribute to environmental destruction. While this might allow individuals to purchase needed items at low prices, it puts a high level of stress on the resources that humans will need in the future. Sustainability and CultureNumerous proposals exist for using cultural change to promote sustainable development.

Many experts point to locally and organically grown foods as a way to make human culture more sustainable. A diet high in meat consumption, for instance, uses more resources and creates more pollution, i.e. air pollution, than diets based on plant consumption. A vegetarian or vegan diet, therefore, could contribute to making human culture more sustainable.

Although government policies could contribute to sustainability, they are not often seen as cultural methods of sustainability. A cultural approach, instead, would encourage consumers to purchase products made by companies that focus on environmental efforts. A desire to use fuel-efficient cars, reusable shopping bags, and organically grown foods, therefore, would fit into a cultural approach to sustainability better than an EPA regulation that prevents companies from dumping chemicals into waterways ans stop the cause of water pollution.

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