As the world is today, sustainability is not thought of where products are concerned. Living sustainably means conserving an ecological balance by avoiding the depletion of natural resources. The main thought is how to keep people happy so they will buy the product and the company can make a profit. Many people do not even know where many of the products they use on a daily basis come from. With so little knowledge, the finite resources that we are using will eventually run out. If we do not have the knowledge to harness the powers of renewable sources, the human race will have a difficult time when the resources we use now run out. Sustainability can be reached by finding other materials to use for products so the Earth’s natural resources are not depleted.
The world depends on fossil fuels and that is how it has been since it was discovered that fossil fuels could be burned for energy and turned into other materials. Fossil fuels are used for many things including gasoline for our cars, plastics and for heating our homes. Such dependence on these finite resources will cost people when the fossil fuels run out if we are not able to find other sources of energy and make them cheap enough for people to want to use them. As it stands now, over 85% of the energy we use comes from fossil fuels (Chughtai and Shannon). Only 15% of the energy we use does not come from fossil fuels. If we continue at this rate, the world will not be able to live, as they would like to when 85% of the energy does not exist anymore.
85% of the sources used for energy by the United States being fossil fuels might not seem so bad because we can start using renewable energy sources and lower that percentage. That is until knowing that the United States makes up 4% of the world’s population and yet we use 26% of the world’s energy (Welch). People in the United States have a higher quality of living and they take that for granted. For only making up 4% of the population and yet using over a quarter of the energy is not being sustainable at all. If the United States wants to live sustainably, we must cut down on the amount of energy we use, or at least get a higher percentage of the energy we use from renewable sources such as wind and solar.
All of the energy that we use does not just go to heat our houses and fuel our cars. Of all the energy we use, about 10% of the energy goes to the food industry (Sanders). 10% of 85% might not seem like much energy, except when a study in 2002 by John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health showed how wasteful the food industry is with the energy they use. In the food industry, every three calories that is used to produce food only results in one calorie of edible food produced (Sanders). When the United States produces food, we waste two calories during the process. By only producing 1/3 of the energy it takes to produce the food, the food industry is wasting the majority of their energy. Overtime, that adds up; a better system needs to be put in place so the United States can be more sustainable.
Not only is making the food edible costly, but the packaging is made using fossil fuels. Plastic packaging is used for many of the goods we buy. While plastic is great for some items, others do not need to be packaged in plastic. Many of the plastic packages cannot be reused and must be thrown away after opened. These packages are not made into other products; they sit in landfills and take up space. If the packages were reusable, it would be better for the environment and would help the United States