With a background in public relations, the word "buzzwords" is practically a buzzword in and of itself. Buzzwords are words or phrases that fit a particular jargon and are typically popular to use at particular times or in particular contexts. However, these words can be more than just jargon. Here are some popular buzzwords that, to me, mean so much more than their mere respective definitions.


Empowerment is a pretty overused word, yet it also perfectly encompasses so much. Capitalism can empower individuals and lift them out of poverty (the words enable or encourage just don't have the same ring or force). Knowledge, education and training are essential to improving a society's living situations. Humans creating policies and businesses that are aimed at empowering (rather than just medicating or helping) people can lead to long-lasting and effective improvement.


Sustainability is getting more and more attention. Be it through topics such as corporate sustainability, global warming, poverty alleviation and so on, American society is finally coming around to the idea that sustainable sourcing can ensure a more prosperous planet (and by extension, a more prosperous people and economy). While global warming has become a leftist hot-button issue, it doesn't take voting Democrat to care for the environment. Businesses must be held accountable for how they source textiles and resources. However, they should be held accountable by the customer (as that is who they ultimately answer to). Sustainability also affects poverty alleviation. Poverty alleviation has little impact if the "rich Westerners" show up to install a $100,000 water pump in an African village that breaks within a couple of years. The technology, resources and knowledge to provide a fix the pump in this case likely do not exist in this village. The solution must be found within this setting. Housing built in third-world countries means nothing if it's not built sustainably, if it is bound to crumble and cannot be prepared and repaired with the resources available to the people. It is important to answer society's problems with sustainable solutions, not bandages.


Opportunity can be stumbled on or discovered, but the best entrepreneurs create opportunity through innovation and imagination. While plenty of entrepreneurs "made it big" on chance (and this isn't to discount them), opportunity isn't just a buzzword exchanged in transitional phases of life. Every day holds new opportunity; it falls on the individual to pursue it.


"Do not just survive; thrive." That's a powerful phrase; it brings to mind the millions of individuals that are working everyday to contribute to the world. While millennials widely pursue purpose (and not just profit), the ultimate goal is to thrive, personally and socially. If society is to thrive, then the individual must thrive. This kind of purpose-driven work force can empower the world (the Earth and everyone on it) to improve and thrive onward.


Justice: a very hot topic in our contemporary culture. Justice is not temporary. It's not something that is won once. It's something that must be continually fought for and pursued. It's something that must transcend policy and culture. Justice should radiate outward through our actions. It's not something that should be abandoned when it's no longer politically convenient or culturally cool. Justice is not just a buzzword for activists. Justice and restoration should be gospel for every citizen of the world.