Sustainability

Where can I find information about sustainability?

Entry last updated: 08/04/19

Introduction

A sustainable situation is one that can continue. Examples of sustainability include an environment that can maintain a certain level of biodiversity, or an economy that can provide a certain percentage of employment while maintaining a reasonable level of profit for companies. Today, the term sustainability usually refers to maintaining or improving the health of the planet in order that humans, other animals, plants, and entire ecosystems can survive into the future. There is also debate as to whether current practices aid or hinder this kind of sustainability.

What is sustainability?

Usually when someone refers to sustainability they mean sustaining the environment of the earth at its present condition (or taking it back to the condition it was in before the Industrial Revolution) through a number of initiatives and technologies.

Britannica School

Britannica, one of the EPIC resources, has some great articles about sustainability.

EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics, put together especially for New Zealand school students. Britannica is one of these databases and helps to answer questions like this. You may need a password to login to EPIC.

  • Choose the Secondary level.
  • Search using the keyword 'sustainability'.
  • Select Sustainability from the results.

There are also other articles in the results that mention sustainability.

Opposing Viewpoints in Context

This EPIC resource has viewpoints on lots of different issues.

  • Go to Browse Issues to find their topic page about Sustainability.
  • Within the topic there are sections for viewpoints, news, articles, videos and more.
Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Global sustainability is seen as a very important issue. The United Nations have developed strategies and guidelines for achieving sustainability.

Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About page, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation's mission and values are.

The Encyclopedia of Earth (EoE)

This site covers lots of different topics related to the environment and science. The information is contributed by a variety of experts and they review each other's work to make sure it's correct.

  • Search for 'sustainability' to find their page on Sustainability.
  • This includes a discussion of different ideas about what the word means.
Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.

Energy

  • A challenge facing those who want to encourage sustainability is our reliance on electricity, and the traditionally unsustainable methods of producing the energy we need. There are many ways people are attempting to improve the sustainability of the energy we use. Some types of energy considered more sustainable include solar, wind, geothermal, tidal and hydroelectric (debated).

Energy Education

The words 'renewable' and 'sustainable' are often used interchangeably, however, strictly speaking they don't mean the same thing.

This site offers a great explanation of the difference between the two terms, as well as lots of information about energy generally.

Tips: Some websites have .au, .nz, .uk or other codes in their url. This can tell you which country this website comes from eg .au is from Australia or .nz is from New Zealand. This website has .ca which means it's from Canada. You can check the About us link on this website to see it was created in conjunction with the University of Calgary, and so should have great information!

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority

You can find great information on this site about the different types of sustainable energy.

Check out the Pros and cons information about Hydroelectricity to see why some people argue that hydroelectricity shouldn't be considered sustainable.

Tips: We like sites like this because they're reliable. You can tell because of their web address - they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They're also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.

GREENR (Global Reference on the Environment, Energy & Natural Resources)

This is one of the EPIC resources and has lots of information about energy and sustainability around the world.

  • Go to Browse Issues and Topics to find the section on Energy.
  • Try searching using keywords like 'geothermal energy' to find more specific information.

You can limit your search results to a certain type of information, eg article or report, by using the options on the side of the results list.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you may need a password from your school librarian, or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday. Some EPIC databases may be available through your public library.

Explain That Stuff

This site has useful information about different types of sustainable energy.

  • Find the search bar and try searching for the type of power you're interested in, for example, wind power, or solar power.
  • You can also take a look at Electricity, and scroll down to the Making Electricity section.
Tips: Some websites, like Explain That Stuff, have advertisements (or ads) which ask us to buy something or tell us to ‘click here’. It’s best to ignore these ads and focus on the information we’re looking for. You'll see ads among the results of your search, but they're in a box at the top and clearly labelled. Just skip past those to find the real results.

Technology and industry

Applying sustainability thinking to business and our developing technology is another challenge. Changes in the way that industries do their work can often be costly or time consuming, and some industries could be negatively effected by increased sustainability. On the other hand, the development of sustainable technology in one industry can lead to advances in many other industries as well.

Science Learning Hub

This website is especially for New Zealand school students and teachers and comes from several government organisations working together. You can find out more about the site by scrolling to the bottom of the page.

  • Look under Explore topics to find their page on Sustainability, which has articles and videos.
  • You can also use keywords to search for articles on particular topics.

We searched for 'sustainable farming' and find this article about how farming in New Zealand has changed. At the bottom of this page you can find information about how the Resource Management Act 1991 encourages farmers to take on more sustainable practices.

Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research

This is one of New Zealand's Crown Research Institutes (CRIs). These companies are owned by the New Zealand Government and aim to use science for the benefit of New Zealanders and our environment.

Manaaki Whenua does research relating to biodiversity, ecosystems and sustainable use of natural resources. Look under the Our Science section to find their resources on Sustainable business & living.

Scion

Scion is also a Crown Research Institute that focuses on forestry and wood products. Look under their Science section to find some of their work on sustainability.

Plant & Food Research

This Crown Research Institute works to improve the production and sustainability of plant crops (including fruit and vegetables) and other food products. Look under the our research section to find their research areas, including Sustainable Production.

Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us page, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation's mission and values are.

GREENR (Global Reference on the Environment, Energy & Natural Resources)

This EPIC resource has lots of information about sustainability in industry.

You can limit your search results to a certain type of information, eg article or report, by using the options on the side of the results list.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you may need a password from your school librarian, or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday. Some EPIC databases may be available through your public library.

Biological

Under the broader concept of sustainability, biological sustainability and biodiversity is seen as increasingly important.

Global Issues in Context

This EPIC resource includes many topics that are currently important global issues.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you may need a password from your school librarian, or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday. Some EPIC databases may be available through your public library.

Department Of Conservation (DOC)

This department is responsible for preserving the natural and historical sites of New Zealand.

  • Look at their Nature section to find their page about Biodiversity.
  • Explore the other parts of their Nature section for information about efforts to conserve and protect native plants and animals.
Tips: We like sites like this because they're reliable. You can tell because of their web address - they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They're also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.

World Wildlife Fund (New Zealand)

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is an organisation that works to protect and preserve the natural world.

This organisation is active around the world - use the drop-down menu at the top of the page (next to New Zealand) to select the website for a different country.

Tips: The official website of a person, business, or organisation is the best place to find out information about them and the work they do. The WWF is a well-known, trusted organisation, so we can find great information or links on their site. Still, be sure to check the information you find against other sources, and check the About Us page on websites their links send you to.

Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research

This Crown Research Institute does research relating to biodiversity, ecosystems and sustainable use of natural resources.

Sustainability at home

People can put a lot of time and money into building or renovating their houses to make them more sustainable, however there are some small but important changes we can make in our homes and schools that don't cost much, and can even save money.

energywise (EECA)

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority set up this website to help New Zealanders live more sustainably.

  • Check the At home section for lots of information about how to make homes more energy efficient.
  • There is also a section explaining Energy labels on appliances and vehicles.

Sustainable Living

This organisation works with local councils to provide ways for people to learn how to be more sustainable.

  • Go to Take Action to find lots of ways we can make daily life more sustainable.
  • Looks under Councils to see if your local council is involved or under Learnto see the classes they have in your area.
Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.

Wellington City Council

Wellington is one of many cities that has a goal of developing the city with sustainability in mind.

Tips: Many web pages have links to further information or to other recommended sites. Following these links is a great way to find out more.

Books

There are some great books on sustainability. Check out your local public or school library to see what they have.

Some recommended titles are:

SCIS no: 1915705

managed by
proudly supported by

Acceptable Use

Acceptable use means acting like a good citizen online. How you behave online should be the same as how you behave offline (in the real world). AnyQuestions is a free service, staffed by real people from libraries right around New Zealand. Please be respectful and polite to our librarians. We like helping people who show good manners :)


We may end a chat session if we think you are being inappropriate or misbehaving, this includes:

  • Using racist/sexist, offensive or obscene language.

    Please don’t use mean or cruel words when talking to or about someone else; whether they are a male or female, or of another race or skin colour. Obscene language means using words that would upset your grandparents!

  • Using the service to transmit messages that harass or threaten the operators.

    Please don’t be mean to our librarians or act like a bully.

  • Visiting an objectionable website while in session with an operator.

    An objectionable website means a website that you really wouldn’t want your grandparents looking over your shoulder at!

  • Deliberately time wasting in a way that denies service to other legitimate users.

    Time wasting means being silly and not working with our librarians. Time wasting means other students are not getting help, and that isn’t nice!

  • Any form of vandalism, including damaging computer systems or networks and knowingly introducing programs such as computer viruses and worms.

    You might be technically savvy and know about web viruses and worms and how they affect computers but please don’t spread these. It takes our attention away from helping you and other students.

  • AnyQuestions reserves the right to disconnect users at the operator’s discretion. AnyQuestions might also block access to the service for repeat offenders.

    If you act like a troll then we’ll end the chat. Remember everything digital or online can be traced and we can track it back to where you came from and/or your school. If you misbehave on AnyQuestions then we will be in touch with your school or we will block you from accessing AnyQuestions.