Sustainable development is about establishment of long term benefits emphasizing the creation of healthier, economically stable and socially viable livelihoods for current and future generation. All countries have agreed to work towards achieving them by 2030. Most of the time achieving all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a top bottom approach and governments need to improve more infrastructure facilities, occupy more resources, take effort and spent more  time but the success is difficult to gain and measure. That is why it is better to initiate a transformative action to obtain individual involvement in achieving sustainable development personally. There the “Individual action” have a great impact on sustainability and an important tool in creating societal change.

Individual action is the conscientious decision by a singular person in participate in sustainable behavior aimed at addressing complex problem. Individuals can change their consumer habitat, life style choice and civic engagement finally.

Consumer habitat is the process by which customer select, buy, use and dispose of idea, goods and services to satisfy their demands and aids in understanding the motivation for their actions (OER of SUST 501 class UNH, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019). If an individual could select greener products and always go for reuse, reduce consumption and direct non-degradables to recycling a tremendous move in sustainability can be achieved.

An individual should possess sound judgment when deciding to purchase everyday consumables, considering factors such as the item’s utility, the extent to which it meets one’s needs, its potential for reuse, its lifespan before becoming waste, and the availability of environmentally friendly disposal methods. For instance, if we purchase shampoo or a dishwashing liquid there are several eco-friendly products in the market and some products have refilling facilities after use. For instance, when buying baby diapers, there are biodegradable options available. After use, with minimal effort to separate the absorbent components, these diapers can be integrated into green waste to create compost for gardening. Such actions require a small amount of effort, thoughtful consideration, wise decision making, and a compassionate foresight for the future.

Lifestyle choices are the commitments that an individual is devoted to that consciously select more sustainable options to participate in (OER of SUST 501 class UNH, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019).

These commitments can be reflected in transportation, energy consumption, eating habits, day to day-to-day life activities in which we take part. For instance, choosing public transport or bicycle for short-distance travel, purchasing solar power to fulfill energy needs, becoming a vegetarian and growing most of the vegetables of our own or reducing the meat consumption gradually, and reducing food waste by making a meal list beforehand shopping, using surface water resources for bathing and washing purposes if possible even for several days of the month can have sustainable merits and also the personal benefits can drastically be improved in an individual’s life.

Civic engagement is when an individual becomes a direct participant in a specific complex problem (OER of SUST 501 class UNH, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019). This stage of commitment can be achieved once the individuals are more competent and delighted with the benefits that they obtain through practicing sustainability over time. As the next step, individuals will be involved in sustainability projects that are working towards an attainable and measurable goal. As an example, it can be considered; to participate in the creation of sustainable enterprises to mitigate unemployment, advocate for environmental justice, or strive for advancements in equality and the empowerment of society. Individual action may seem minuscule but when thousands and thousands of individuals join with the action it can create a huge storm of wind that pushes a society towards sustainability.

It is essential to educate and train the general public, particularly women preparing for motherhood, as well as university students and schoolchildren who represent the future generation. This education aims to impart a smart and informed approach to decision-making, ensuring sustainable practices for the future. Therefore, the idea of “Individual action in sustainable development” needs to be transplanted and allowed to grow in humans as soon as possible for the betterment of mankind and the planet Earth.

R.M.H.N.K Nisansala

BSc (sp) in Aqua. Res. Tech, UWU, SL

MSc in Env.Sc UoP , PGIS, SL

Central Environmental Authority, Sri Lanka


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Larsen, Christian Alberkt, (2014), “Social Cohesion: Definition, measurment and development”, Availableat:,(Accessed: 19 December 2023).

Komiyama, Hiroshi and Kazuhiko Takeuchi, (2006), “sustainability Science: Building Science vol.1, Available at : (Accessed: 19 December 2023).