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The Journey to Sustainability

The Journey to Sustainability

Human activities greatly impact environmental sustainability; therefore, a sustainable environment implies that human beings adopt a lifestyle in which they utilize natural resources while still conserving the environment. Human activities that negatively impact the environment and lead to depletion of natural resources include mass tourism, poor farming practices that involve excessive use of water and fertilizers, increased groundwater pumping that leads to saltwater intrusion, and overexploitation of oil sands, which results in water contamination and toxicity. Consistently, in the sustainable future, humans will practice ecotourism, adopt hydroponic agricultural techniques, and implement strategies that avert the adverse effects of saltwater intrusion and oil sands. Accordingly, this paper describes a sustainable future, detailing the human-nature relationship, the earth’s biodiversity, agriculture, water and energy use, and waste management.

The Human-Nature Relationship

The sustainable future will be characterized by a healthy human-nature relationship. In this case, a healthy human-nature relationship promotes environmental sustainability. To achieve this, humans will ensure a balance between nature and human needs. This will include saving water by turning off water and repairing water leaks (Community Writer, n.d.). Saving water ensures that water resources are not overexploited. Water-saving activities include collecting rainwater for indoor plants, gardening, and flushing toilets. Secondly, people will use energy-saving appliances such as LED bulbs to improve household energy efficiency (Community Writer, n.d.). This results in lower demand for energy resources hence decreased fossil fuel combustion. Thirdly, they will have better transportation habits such as carpooling and cycling or walking for short distances, reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

Furthermore, humans will implement environmentally-friendly approaches to deal with natural disasters like hurricanes. Notably, hurricanes result in massive debris like charred wood, timber and green waste like trees. Sustainable management of such debris includes using charred timber for reconstruction and green wastes for agricultural purposes like mulching. Humans will also implement solutions such as afforestation and reforestation. It is worth noting that environmental degradation played a major role in Hurricane Katrina (Curry, n.d.). Accordingly, afforestation and reforestation will help prevent such disasters.

Biodiversity and Ecosystem

In the sustainable future, humans will preserve biological diversity (biodiversity). Biodiversity includes genetic, species, and ecosystem diversity (Simon et al., 2019). Humans will understand that each species is essential in creating biological communities. Besides, species are the foundation of an ecosystem which provides food, clean air, pure water, energy, and renewed soil, which are essential for human well-being. They will understand that losing a species can be devastating or lead to unpredictable changes. For instance, an ecology without pollinators implies that some plant species might become extinct (Simon et al., 2019). Therefore, humans will engage in activities that promote biodiversity and maintain an interaction with nature that ensures environmental sustainability. Such activities include ecotourism. Ecotourism is a subset of tourism that focuses on the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources and the preservation of local culture while still creating economic opportunities for the local community (Kiper, 2022). It ensures a balance between the needs of tourism, environment conservation, and local communities.

Furthermore, humans will apply scientific techniques like bioremediation to reclaim biodiversity destroyed by oil sands. Oil sands are a bitumen, water, mineral, and clay mixture (Ramseur, 2015). Oil sand mining utilizes water to extract bitumen from the oil sand ore. Consequently, this process contaminates water, making it toxic. Thus, bioremediation approaches like using bacteria will be applied to clean up oil spills and mining sites.

Agricultural Production

In the future, humans will apply sustainable agricultural techniques like hydroponics. Hydroponics is a soilless agricultural technique that utilizes a system comprising water and nutrients required for plant growth. Notably, plants can be grown by immersing their roots in a solution containing water and required nutrients only or in an inert medium such as sawdust. Hydroponics will help promote environmental sustainability because it requires limited land or space, unlike traditional methods. Also, it eliminates soil-borne diseases and weeds since it does not require using soil. Subsequently, the need to use pesticides and herbicides is also eliminated, hence avoiding freshwater ecosystem pollution that results from such chemicals.

Figure 1. The Drip Hydroponic System (Sharma et al., 2018).

Lastly, hydroponics promotes the sustainable management of water resources; notably, in controlled conditions, this system can utilize less water (85% to 90%) than traditional methods.

Water Resources Management

Saltwater intrusion is an environmental problem affecting living organisms and the physical environment, including water ecosystems. Saltwater intrusion is the flow of saline water into freshwater aquifers. Factors contributing to saltwater intrusion include paving surface areas, excessive groundwater pumping, and limited freshwater flow caused by climatic changes, drought, or rising sea levels (Bensel & Carbone, 2020). The flow of salty water contaminates freshwater resources, resulting in water shortages, high costs, and increased carbon footprint due to water treatment efforts. Saltwater sometimes carries nutrients from farm fertilizers into coastal water bodies. This provides excessive nutrients, leading to excessive algae growth. Subsequently, increased bacterial activity is required to break down these algae after the algae die. This requires excessive use of oxygen, which depletes oxygen levels in the coastal waters, killing fish and other aquatic animals. Accordingly, humans in the sustainable future will have extensive knowledge about saltwater intrusion and implement strategies like growing salt-tolerant plant species. They will also apply best practices to manage water resources and prevent the negative impacts of saltwater intrusion. These practices include avoiding drilling in regions adjacent to the coastline, reducing pumping depth, and programming wells to pump water at intervals rather than simultaneously (British Columbia, 2016). Best practices also include recycling and reusing water, increasing water storage and pumping water during wet seasons rather than in dry seasons, and installing alarms or indicators to detect leakers sooner and fix them quickly (British Columbia, 2016).

Meeting Energy Needs

Fossil fuels, particularly coal, are the major sources of energy. Nonetheless, the combustion of fossil fuels presents environmental issues such as global warming, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and water pollution. Therefore, humans will opt for sustainable energy sources to meet their energy demands without degrading the environment. These include natural and clean renewable energy resources like geothermal, solar, hydroelectric power, and wind energies that cannot be depleted and emit insignificant amounts of GHGs and other pollutants. Humans will also ensure sustainable coal utilization, where coal is used as an energy source. Sustainable coal utilization includes using advanced technologies to control GHG and other pollutant emissions. They will apply precombustion, post-combustion, and oxy-firing combustion technologies to reduce or eliminate carbon dioxide release (Letcher, 2020). Moreover, people will conserve energy by, for instance, using lithium-ion batteries for stationary energy storage.

Waste Management

Waste management in the sustainable future will involve using recyclable materials rather than plastics. In addition, the elimination of plastics will follow biodegradable processes. For instance, endophytic fungi like the pestalotiopsis will be utilized to degrade polyurethane and eliminate polyesters (Barnhart et al., 2017). Also, according to Baltakys et al. (2021), industrial waste makes up a significant percentage of the total waste; therefore, humans will devise effective methods to recycle industrial waste. For instance, they will utilize granite cutting waste from granite extraction industries and AlF3-rich silica gel from aluminium fluoride manufacturing as raw materials for cement production (Baltakys et al., 2021). In turn, this will help minimize pollution and conserve the environment.

Challenges and Social, Economical, Political, and Ecological Considerations

Achieving a sustainable environment faces various social, economic, political, and ecological challenges. For instance, most technologies for enhancing environmental sustainability are expensive, presenting socio-economic challenges. For instance, the initial cost of setting up a large-scale hydroponic system is very high. Precombustion, post-combustion, and oxy-firing combustion technologies are also expensive. Also, setting up all these technologies requires technical expertise. Politically, leaders will be required to create policies that enhance the transition to sustainability. Key challenges include proper definition and analysis of ethical and leadership concepts for environmental sustainability. Also, changing the public’s opinions might be challenging. Still, effective leadership remains essential.

Moreover, education and public awareness play a significant role in the transition to sustainability. Besides, human activities are the major actors in environmental degradation. Therefore, scientists and other experts will communicate the importance of a sustainable environment. Communication will be done through social media to reach a significant audience and achieve a rapid spread of information. Subsequently, the public will understand the importance of conserving biodiversity. Lastly, all the sustainability issues will be solved if the world has a shared vision and understanding of sustainability.


Baltakys, K., Dambrauskas, T., Rubinaite, D., Siauciunas, R., & Grineviciene, A. (2021). Formation and hydration of eco-friendly cement using industrial wastes as raw materials. Scientific Reports11(1).

Barnhart, A., Bisong, L., Brittenham, M., & Eccher, E. (2017). The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Retrieved 14 February 2022, from

Bensel, T., & Carbone, I. (2020). Sustaining Our Planet.

British Columbia. (2016). Best Practices for Prevention of Saltwater Intrusion. Retrieved 19 August 2022, from

Community Writer. 10 Ways to Save the Environment. Eco Friend. Retrieved 18 August 2022, from

CURRY, A. Sustainable Earth: Disasters – National Geographic. Environment. Retrieved 18 August 2022, from

Kiper, T. (2022). Role of Ecotourism in Sustainable Development. Retrieved 18 August 2022, from.

Letcher, T. (ed). (2020). Future Energy (3rd ed.). Elsevier.

Ramseur, J. (2015). Oil Sands and the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund: The Definition of “Oil” and Related Issues for Congress. Oil Sands and the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund: The Definition of “Oil”. Retrieved 15 August 2022, from

Sharma, N., Acharya, S., Kumar, K., Singh, N., & Chaurasia, O. (2018). Hydroponics as an advanced technique for vegetable production: An overview. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation17(4), 364.

Simon, E., Dickey, J., Reece, J., & Burton, R. (2019). Campbell Essential Biology (7th ed.). Pearson Education, Inc.


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The Journey to Sustainability
[WLO: 4] [CLOs: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]
Prior to beginning work on this final paper, review all chapters of Bensel and Carbone’s Sustaining Our Planet text (2020).

In this paper, you will explore what a future sustainable world might look like, and in the process of doing so, extend your previous descriptions of selected terms and explain how they may play a role in aiding us in achieving environmental sustainability on a global scale.

The Journey to Sustainability

The Journey to Sustainability

The Journey to Sustainability

Imagine a future (probably a long time from now) in which human beings have achieved environmental sustainability on a global scale. That means that we as a species have figured out how to maintain a lifestyle that can go on indefinitely. Humans will exist in harmony with their environment, not needing more resources than can naturally be replenished. What would such a world be like? How might we get there from here?

In this final assignment, you will play the part of science-fiction writer, imagining and describing what a sustainable Earth, inhabited by humans, might look like in the distant future. You will need to provide examples throughout to support your descriptions. You should include all the terms that you have researched during Weeks 1 through 4 of this class, underlining each term as you include it. Be sure to expand on your terms and include other concepts that you learned in the course. Provide as detailed a picture as possible of how that future world might function on a day-to-day basis. In your paper, use grammar and spell-checking programs to insure clarity. Proofread carefully prior to submitting your work. Finally, you will submit the document to Waypoint.

Your paper will consist of seven paragraphs using the format below to address the elements with the assumption that environmental sustainability has been achieved:

Paragraph 1:
Describe how the human relationship to nature will be different from what it is at present.
Examine how humans will cope differently with the ways that natural phenomena like hurricanes affect lives.
Paragraph 2:
Describe what Earth’s biodiversity and ecosystems will look like in a sustainable future.
Explain what humans have done differently to enable biodiversity and ecosystems to function sustainably.
Paragraph 3:
Examine how agricultural production will be different in a sustainable future.
Paragraph 4:
Differentiate between how humans will manage water resources (fresh water and ocean) in the sustainable future compared to how it is done now.
Paragraph 5
Examine how humans will meet their energy needs in the future in a way that will enable maintenance of a sustainable, habitable atmosphere and climate.
Indicate the changes that humans have made that are enabling them to maintain a healthy atmosphere and climate for all.
Paragraph 6:
Describe how waste management will be different in a sustainable future.
Indicate the changes have been made to how humans think about and treat what is currently called “waste.”
Paragraph 7:
Summarize some of the major social, economic, political, and ecological choices and tradeoffs that will need to be overcome for this sustainable future to arrive. What are some of the major issues and challenges humans will have to face in order to achieve sustainability on a global scale?
The Journey to Sustainability final paper

Must be seven paragraphs in length (700 to 1400 words) (not including title and reference pages) and formatted according to APA Style as outlined in the University of Arizona Global Campus Writing Center’s APA Style (Links to an external site.)
Must incorporate all four of your previously selected terms.
Must utilize academic voice. See the Academic Voice (Links to an external site.) resource for additional guidance.
Include two scholarly sources including the course text.
The Scholarly, Peer-Reviewed, and Other Credible Sources (Links to an external site.) table offers additional guidance on appropriate source types. If you have questions about whether a specific source is appropriate for this assignment, please contact your instructor. Your instructor has the final say about the appropriateness of a specific source for a particular assignment.
Must document any information used from sources in APA style as outlined in the University of Arizona Global Campus Writing Center’s APA: Citing Within Your Paper (Links to an external site.).
Can include, as an option, a separate references list that is formatted according to APA Style as outlined in the University of Arizona Global Campus Writing Center. See the APA: Formatting Your References List (Links to an external site.) resource in the University of Arizona Global Campus Writing Center for specifications.
Carefully review the Grading Rubric (Links to an external site.) for the criteria that will be used to evaluate your assignment.

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