Sustainability - Why You Should Be Windsor's Everyday Hero

By Niharika Bandaru

Let’s bre-bre-break it down.

Sustainability: A word that was first rumoured to be used around 1924. It was coined from “sustain” + “ability”, but wasn’t really a thing before the Roaring 20s.

In general, it means, “the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level”.

In its more popular use today, with obvious links to the environment –

Sustainability is the ability to provide for the current generation without sacrificing the needs of future generations

– whether it be food, clean air, clean water, fuel, land, gold, tea, chocolate, cat memes etc...

But, this isn’t meant to be a post about the etymology of the word. This post is meant to be about what sustainability means to you and me; what it means for US as Windsorites

Sustainability to a Windsorite

Windsor is a potpourri of different people, cultures, languages, events, foods, yada-yada. But if three things had to be picked out of this mixed bag that were path-stoppingly, jaw-droppingly, life-definingly important to us, one would almost instantaneously say cars, pizza and real estate!

So what does sustainability look like for these three vital signs of thriving life in Windsor? How would sustainability display itself through the web of environmental, social, and economic activities here?

Cars

– still being able to manufacture and drive our prideful local-made cars 50, 35, even 10 years from now without running out of vital resources and breaking the bank.

The minivan being assembled at Windsor's Chrylser Plant. Source: cbc.ca

The minivan being assembled at Windsor's Chrylser Plant. Source: cbc.ca

Pizza

– still being able to grow and afford the exotic ingredients and the beautiful Galati cheese we like to adorn our beloved pizzas with.

A campaign by the Ontario government in an effort to show the daily effects of climate change. Source: ONGov

Real Estate

– still being able to trade in real estate at affordable prices and their corresponding mortgages and insurances without the hampering effects of the changing climate, such as water damage due to frequent storms, increased air pollution in certain neighbourhoods etc.

A car chugs through a flooded out section of Lesperance Road near Riverside Drive on Sept. 29, 2016. Source: Dan Janisse / Windsor Star

A car chugs through a flooded out section of Lesperance Road near Riverside Drive on Sept. 29, 2016. Source: Dan Janisse / Windsor Star

In all seriousness though, the city’s Environmental Master Plan includes many goals and actions related to sustainability. But why are they so important? Why, for the love of Caboto Pizza, must we be sustainable?

It’s for you

Sustainability is not a term that was coined exclusively for a certain culture, geographical area or an era of people. It is a state of affairs and a philosophy that trickles down from generation to generation. The fruits of the activities- good or bad - that our ancestors had conducted in their lifetimes have now reached our doorsteps, and they’re knocking hard. In your lifetime, you want to be able to eat well, breathe clean and live healthy (physically and mentally). The environment plays a gigantic role in that agenda.

It’s for your kids

Similarly, how you manage your resources, trickles down to your kids. Plant an apple tree today, and your kid gets to eat delicious apple pie come Thanksgiving 2022. Support clean energy technologies in your lifetime, and your child gets to live a healthier, cleaner and more affordable life in their time.

It’s for the community

As neighbors and members of the community, WE have a responsibility to be a good steward of the environment. The waste we generate, the air we pollute and the water we contaminate impacts the entire community. We are a benevolent culture, and a proud Canadian one too. So I think it’s safe to say that we pride ourselves in not hurting anyone, and more importantly, caring for one another.

It makes fiscal sense

Being sustainable makes simple sense. It can improve health, increase safety, and save money (ka- damn right- ching!). For example, driving less reduces air pollution, decreases wear and tear on local roads, and saves money. Why wouldn’t one want to improve the quality of the air they breathe?

We all benefit from cleaner, healthier lives.

So the takeaway from all of this is that change can manifest itself very quickly, and positive change doesn’t have to wait multiple generations to show results. Windsor needs sustainability and good sense, so let’s be sustainable about it.

Now that you know the whys, stay tuned to WOC for the hows of sustainability.