Even those who fully support the idea of sustainable development as a goal find many challenges in their efforts to achieve this goal. Creating a sustainable future requires sustainable choices being made at many levels of society. Just as human decisions affect the environment at many levels, so does the need for sustainability exists at many levels.
In developed nations, many individuals and families have diverse opportunities available and must grasp with a range of very personal choices related to family size, housing, diet, vocation, transportation, recreation, and purchase of consumer goods.
Local communities must also grasp with a bunch of choices in making responsible decisions related to transportation, housing, infrastructure, and more. In some cases the most sustainable alternatives are a real change from the current situation, which is likely to make them less acceptable to many persons.
In business and industry, reaching for sustainability has its own challenges. Efforts at the scale of individual products, such as through life cycle analysis, will not be enough.
Equally important are efforts at the scale of entire plants or corporations and even at the scale of industrial ecosystems or eco-industrial parks where, for example, byproducts or heat output by one industry becomes feedstock or power for the industry next door. Creating sustainable agriculture to feed our growing population and its changing tastes is yet another subject with its own questions and concerns.
On many scales – in homes and communities, industry and agriculture, and under the influence of national and international policy – new technologies are likely to play an important role in helping us achieve sustainability.
This does not mean that na technological optimism will see us through. Rather, technological evolution is a necessary complement to cultural evolution. It will be an ongoing challenge to effectively focus technological change toward furthering sustainability.
Creating a sustainable world is also a challenge because the types of changes needed go beyond choices that can be made on a decision-by-decision basis. There are many issues dealing with system problems. Ecological systems, as well as economic and political ones, may not give feedback at all, or may give only delayed feedback, to indicate which behavior is unsustainable. Economic and political systems were set up to operate in ways that sometimes actually reinforce what can now be recognized as unsustainable behavior. Achieving sustainability thus requires system-level changes.
Another challenge in moving toward sustainability involves questions of how we define sustainability and mark progress toward it. Sustainability issues are becoming increasingly critical during the next two generations and that it is essential that we achieve a significant degree of progress in this time frame. Such an achievement depends on goals that can help focus research and development on the most critical problems and opportunities.
If our society was sustainable my life would be way different than it is now. I would have to limit my eating habits and budget my money better. I would have to limit my budgeting because if we lived in a sustainable society we wouldn't have all the food, money, and resources we have now, or at least not as much. This would be good though, because our obesity rate would take a major plunge causing a healthier lifestyle.
There are many flaws in our present system that is not sustainable. The main issue would have to be the abuse of oil. Every car on the road today is wasting oil that could be used generations from now. If the world does not stop abusing this oil, Earth will run out of oil in fifty years. Another big issue is happening locally. This issue is the lack of wetlands. People want to use wetlands to construct massive buildings. If this happens our environment would lose a lot of animals that can be saved. Because if someone destroys the wetland, animals living in that wetland would die, as well as the animals who feed from the wetland, etc. Population is another problem we have in our society. Wer overly populated on earth and it is getting worse. We are projected to have a population of approximately nine billion people by 2050. This would limit our resources even more!
All of these issues could be prevented. Meaning people would have to sacrifice money-making opportunities. But they say "money makes the world go around". So the likelihood of this to happen is probably slim-to-none, at least they have one willing to make a effort!