Food and Society - Chapter 12: Food: natural and environmental considerations

Elsevier, Food and Society, 2020, Pages 247-255
Mark Gibson

Environmentalism and sustainability are two buzzwords that have come to represent an awakening of the people's collective conscience over the last two decades or so. Pedantically, the two words have slightly different meanings, yet there is sufficient overlap that they are commonly used interchangeably. Environmentalism dwells on the larger picture in which the earth's physical surroundings are the focal point in which the well-being of the variety of ecosystems such as the air, land, and waterbodies in respect of its biota with regard to issues of pollution, health, and general well-being. All in all, the environmentalist movement takes a balanced overarching view to earth's continuing conservation and maintenance. On the other hand, sustainability takes a slightly different view, looking at the environment from usage and its finite resource perspective. In this way, sustainability is a term promoting a sensible way of utilizing natural resources that neither overstresses their existing or future potential nor degrades resources to the point of collapse. After all, the earth's resources actually provide for everything that humanity eats, wears, uses, or lives in. In doing so, sustainability aims to maintain a balance or continuity of present usage that does not impede on future generations needs too.