River Cottage Australia

Working Toward a Sustainable Future

Paul West discusses how we can reduce our impact on this beautiful planet by embracing sustainability.

I saw an interesting graph once which plotted the use of the word “sustainability” in written language from the fifties to the present day. The curve in the graph grew exponentially and plotted that by 2050 every single written word in the English language would be sustainability.

The moral of the story is sustainability is becoming an ever growing part of our lives; it's everywhere we look, in marketing, the public and private sectors, media and everyday conversation. At its core sustainability refers to our ability to sustain our culture in a manner which doesn't diminish our environmental, social or economic resources. It challenges the assumption of limitless economic growth which our western capitalist society is built upon.

Let's save the nitty gritty details of what defines sustainability for a lengthier discussion though, the important thing to talk about is what we can do to ensure future generations enjoy the same quality of life we do.


Drive less and walk more

Get your legs into gear or jump on your push bike or public transport more. You know that stuff that we pour into cars, yep there's only so much of it in the ground and we're transferring it to the atmosphere by the megatonne every single day. We have these amazing bodies capable of transporting us to all kinds of places, let's use them!

Eat less meat

Sorry fellas, I know many of you love bacon for breakfast, sausages for lunch and steak for dinner, but the reality is that a huge amount of water and feed is used to create every kilogram of meat we consume and while the animals are alive, their digestive tracts are belching huge amounts of methane into the atmosphere. Buying in season vegetables, grown as close to you as possible, and ideally from the person who grew them is a better option for our own health, our communities and the environment.

Don't rely on your air-conditioner

A huge amount of energy goes into keeping our homes and offices at a palatable 22°C year round. Believe it or not the human body is very capable of enduring temperatures in a much broader range. Open a window and have a cold drink in summer and rug up in winter, not only is it better for the planet, it's better for the hip pocket when that energy bill arrives.

Buy used not new

With the emergence of sites like EBay and Gumtree everything you could possibly desire is available second hand. I'm not suggesting that you should buy second hand undies, but turning another person’s trash into your treasure keeps perfectly good resources form going into landfill and can save you a heap of coin at the same time!


That's just four easy steps which will help you tread a little more lightly on this beautiful planet. We enjoy a wonderful quality of life and I for one want my grandchildren and everyone else’s around the world to do the same. Let's be the generation that made the change not the one that sealed the fate.

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Posted by TaurusBevReport
I just love your show Paul and admire you for all you have done to the farm and the animals. I look forward to watching it at midnight every night.