Sample Essay on Quest for Sustainability

Quest for Sustainability

Humans require nature to survive comfortably. They exploit nature for economic gains, but ends up causing environmental degradation. The book Design by Nature essentially offers systematic instructions on how to exploit regions according to their appropriate uses. By constructing buildings where farming should be done, or cutting forests where more trees should be grown, Ian McHarg described how individuals should do to reverse the process of destruction towards development. However, humanity has emerged as the greatest challenge in the sustenance of the biosphere, as it persist in getting appropriate ecological designs to address problems facing each bioregion. This study will focus on addressing issues concerning the biosphere and nature, as well as challenges facing humans in the quest for sustainability.

Addressing Sustainability

Sustainability involves satisfying the requirements of the current generation of humanity without interfering with the capacity of the ecosystem in providing the needs of the future generations.  According to Robertson (2014), sustainability focuses on identifying the dynamic, cyclical, as well as interdependent nature of every part of the earth and its habitats. It is evident that the first civilization came down due to lack of sustainability, which led to environmental degradation. When the population grew rapidly and people’s need exceeded nature’s capacity to provide for their basic needs, they resulted to environmental destruction. According to Peter Buchanan, overgrazing exposed soils to erosion while cutting down of tree resulted to reduced rainfall (Saunders, 2014).

Kristina Hill proposed for “better” ecological designs to address the tasks that seem to be strategically critical to a given bioregion (Saunders, 2008). Improvement of water quality, preserving plants and animal species that are at risk of global extinction, and improving soil fertility, can contribute towards sustainability of the biosphere. Appropriate ecological designs should be cost effective so that everybody can afford them. Prototypes that are expensive and individually designed cannot be utilized for sustainability because the current generation cannot afford to maintain them for long. Sustainability requires economic capability, as well as greater social equity, to achieve its goals. Use of renewable resources can save the biosphere from destruction, as well as save on cost. If the US could utilize more renewable resources and expand on efficient production and distribution, it can sustain its current population, as well as save for its future generation.

However, sustainability cannot be achieved without combined efforts from architectures, politicians, and ordinary citizens. Waste and pollution have been the main hindrances towards sustenance since 1960s. The current crisis in sustainability efforts resulted from valuing one species over the others leading to a compromise of biodiversity. New experiments on urban designs, as well as capitalist economies, have been blamed for increased pressure on ecosystem. Some architects still oppose use of green design as they claim that such efforts undermine architects’ creativity. Scientific-industrial civilization is also a hindrance to sustainability, as biologically generated resources are extracted faster than they can be restocked (Saunders, 2008). Some countries are investing on expensive projects that require excessive amount of funds to maintain.


Sustainability is based on the principle that everything that humans need for their survival should depend on the natural environment, but humans have put a lot of pressure on environment without endeavoring to design ways to sustain their source of livelihood. Environmental design and architectural blueprint can be utilized in regional and urban planning, to maintain the natural environment.  Many urban areas encounter challenges in sustenance due to high population and poor urban planning. Millennium Development Goals can be utilized to attain sustainability, although some countries are against such plans to avoid losing economically. If countries could agree to exploit renewable energy, in addition to green design, sustainability can be achieved.


Robertson, M. (2014). Sustainability principles and practice. Abingdon, Oxon : Routledge.

Saunders, W. S. (2008). Nature, landscape, and building for sustainability: A Harvard design magazine reader. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.