Sustainability generally refers to systems, behaviors and activities aimed at helping to preserve a particular entity or resource. Human sustainability is one category, which involves specific goals, strategies and methods implemented to preserve and improve the quality of human life. Sociological, environmental and resource-based factors contribute to human sustainability.

Population Growth and the Environment

Population growth is a major concern in the area of human sustainability. The Center for Sustainability at Aquinas College noted that the world population grows by around 200,000 per day. In general, Earth contains limited land space for people to live in a healthy, comfortable way. As populations grow, the amount of space and natural resources available to supply them wanes in comparison. Pushes for environmental resource preservation and responsible usage of resources are also important to meeting needs of growing populations. The Aquinas center advocates limits on childbirth of two children per woman to moderate world population growth.

Another area closely tied to preserving resources for populations is consumption. Emphasis on wellness and recreation is partly driven by the desire to sustain a healthy population. Another reason nutritionists and government entities push for more natural, unprocessed foods is to sustain farms and producers that provide them. Without demand for healthy goods, the companies that produce them won't have the financial resources to sustain agriculture and production. Additionally, environmental experts advise against excessive consumption of products like plastics and aerosols, which contribute to toxic air and full landfills.

Society, Civilization and Globalization

Along with physical sustainability, world leaders have to weigh economic and functional sustainability when making domestic and foreign policy decisions. For example, when a country maintains a high gross domestic product, it benefits populations domestically and globally. Globalization allows countries to collaborate on human sustainability goals. Promoting civilized behaviors and minimizing criminal activities also contribute to sustainability through reduced instances of wars and other massive tragedies. Studies on famine, infant mortality, life spans and extraterrestrial life also contribute to sustainability of civilizations.

Social Justice and Values

Social justice and societal values also fit in the discussion of human sustainability. (See Ref 1) Social justice is the pursuit of fairness and equality for all people, regardless of ethnicity, race, gender, age, religion and other demographic factors. Shared values within population groups help shape communities and cultures. Social injustice and discrimination in a population contribute to cultural and environmental degradation. These problems also lead to wars, which typically cost thousands of lives and lots of money, while ultimately damaging the environment.

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