The environment is the basis of all life. Biology teaches us that everything is connected. Sustainable livelihood (SL) refers to fact that the ecosystem and all other systems, such as economic, social and cultural systems, are interrelated and affect each other daily. Sustainable livelihoods, in their simplest form, are about local efforts to alter behavior that has the ability to result in global changes. SL requires the rich to work with the poor, the privileged with the unprivileged, and the educated with the uneducated. This sharing of power and resources allows everyone, regardless of class, sex or standing, to be a part of a larger process to bring about a significant social and environmental change.
Our Common Future, also known as the Bruntland Report, was written in the 1980’s. This time was the first large push for environmentalists to bring the sustainability concept to the public. The report gives this quotation:
Our global future depends upon sustainable development. It depends upon our willingness and ability to dedicate our intelligence, ingenuity, and adaptability—our energy—to our common future. This is a choice we can make. Sustainable development is … development that
We in the United States, being the most careless, will require the most change. Even in the cities of Ecuador, many people have small gardens that provide food for the family. However, overall the overall objective of any sustainable livelihood approach is poverty elimination. More modern SL approaches allow local people to develop their own goals for their community, and then other nations or communities support them in achieving those goals. That is what the organizations are attempting to do with their sustainable livelihood approaches. The percentage of people living an ecologically positive lifestyle there is much higher than the US. The duty of sustainability is global. However, the desires of individuals across the world sound surprisingly similar: food, clothing, shelter, freedom, and a better life for our children. From that point on, sustainability gained momentum in many forums, such as the United Nations, governments and corporations. This put the people in a position of disadvantage because they were not able to define their needs and, in turn, their own future. In other parts of the world, sustainability concepts in general are easier to achieve than in the United States. It is a process that will be ever changing and never actually have an ending. This is why sustainability can work, because people and their desires are the central method for change.