Sustainability Spotlight: Simple Steps to Sustainable Living
There are many reasons to live sustainably. Perhaps you care about the planet, want to reduce waste, find alternative solutions to plastic use—or all three and more. Whatever your reason, we should all consider making positive changes to counteract negative environmental concerns.
Here’s what Executive Director of Sustainability Donald Cherry is doing to reduce his ecological footprint.
What does sustainability mean to you?
I’ve seen people define it in so many ways. The definition we use at USANA is the means through which we meet the needs of today without compromising our ability to meet the needs of the future. That applies to all areas of the business. But in my personal life, I most often think of that definition in reference to the environment and also to burnout.
What got you into sustainability?
There were always strict rules in my home around reusing things, turning off the lights when you leave a room, keeping food waste to a minimum, or being conscious of how much water we used. Granted, the driving factor for us not being wasteful was we that didn’t have a ton of money. But the principles still stand.
Why is sustainability important?
I think about TV shows like The Jetsons and Star Trek that essentially predicted the future in amazing ways: tablets, cell phones, 3D printers, etc. On the flipside, I think of movies like Waterworld and Total Recall. We know the icecaps are melting and people like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have a fascination with getting humans to space. I’m not saying it’s because they know something we don’t about the habitability of Earth in the future…but I’ve watched a lot of movies. In all seriousness, it’s pretty easy to believe things will always be as they are, especially when we don’t experience any immediate impact as a result of our decisions. I think it’s important we change that line of thinking.
What specific areas are most important to you?
There are a few things I’m concerned about. From an environmental standpoint, I love going up to a lake to spend time with those close to me. One of my goals coming out of the pandemic was to drive down to Lake Powell on Utah’s southern border. I’ve seen pictures of how it’s been impacted by the drought over the years, and it was alarming to say the least. Water conservation is becoming more urgent as most of us are directly impacted. From a more personal standpoint, I’ve been thinking a lot about instant gratification and how some of the decisions I make now don’t contribute to the future I want to have. I eat terribly—often ordering take out more than I should—which leads to burnout, and I could do better at managing my stress. I’m planning to live until I’m 150, and I know there are sustainable changes I need to make to get there.
How can you contribute to the bigger picture?
Something as simple as eating leftovers helps me recognize my immediate impact on things happening on a macro level. It’s principle-based thinking. What can I do today that will make for a better tomorrow? What can I do this week that will make for a better month? What can I do this year that will make for a better decade? What can I do this decade that will impact the century? Looking at these questions helps to break things down into bite-size pieces while tracing minor action to major long-term impact.
What are some of the things you do on an individual level?
There are the basics like recycling, opting out of single-use plastics, riding my e-bike as opposed to driving when I can, etc. But I think we can all calculate our personal carbon footprint and start there. There are free calculators out there, and it’s been helpful for me to see how my actions impact the environment so I can determine what my biggest areas of improvement are.
How do you inspire others to get involved?
I try to lead by example and be an evangelist for things I know have worked well for me. I’m far from perfect, and I’m open about that, but I think it shows that you don’t have to know everything about everything to start making changes.
What is the most important first step to take?
Education and awareness then determining what exactly you’re passionate about. There are so many elements to sustainability, and it’s unlikely an individual will care equally about every aspect. And that’s okay. Pick something you care deeply about and start making changes. That way you’re more likely to stick with new habits over time.
Learn more about USANA’s sustainable efforts, goals, and accomplishments here.
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR
Executive Director of Corporate Sustainability
Donald is driven by his mission to make the world a better place. A 16-year veteran at USANA, he’s passionate about growth and learning. In his current role, Donald has helped create and develop USANA’s corporate sustainability program to strengthen the company’s culture, philosophies, expectations, and vision for the future. He has earned a bachelor’s in communication studies from the University of Utah and a Master of Science in project management and leadership from Northeastern University.