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Vision Statement and Principles of Sustainable Development Draft
In April 1994 the President's Council on Sustainable Development
released this draft Vision Statement and defining Principle's of
Sustainable Development and requested public comment. The comment period
was closed on August 15, 1994 with responses from nearly 700 individuals
and organizations. The Principles, Goals and Definitions Task Force,
with professional assistance, assessed the comments, edits, revisions,
and changes made to the draft during the comment period. A report on the
findings was delivered at the Council meeting on October 27, 1994. A
summary of those findings are available through the PCSD office.
Definition of Sustainable Development
" . . . to meet the needs of the present without compromising the
ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
Our Vision of a Sustainable United States of America
Our vision is of a life-sustaining earth. We are committed to the
achievement of a dignified, peaceful, and equitable existence. We
believe a sustainable United States will have a growing economy that
equitably provides opportunities for satisfying livelihoods and a safe,
healthy, high quality of life for current and future generations. Our
nation will protect its environment, its natural resource base, and the
functions and viability of natural systems on which all life depends.
To achieve that vision:
We must preserve and, where possible, restore the integrity of
natural systems -- soils, water, air, and biological diversity -- which
sustain both economic prosperity and life itself.
Economic growth, environmental protection, and social equity should
be interdependent, mutually reinforcing national goals, and policies to
achieve these should be integrated.
Along with appropriate protective measures, market strategies should
be used to harness private energies and capital to protect and improve
Population must be stabilized at a level consistent with the capacity
of the earth to support its inhabitants.
Protection of natural systems requires changed patterns of
consumption consistent with a steady improvement in the efficiency with
which society uses natural resources.
Progress toward the elimination of poverty is essential for economic
progress, equity, and environmental quality.
All segments of society should equitably share environmental benefits
All economic and environmental decision-making should consider the
well-being of future generations, and preserve for them the widest
possible range of choices.
Where public health may be adversely affected, or environmental
damage may be serious or irreversible, prudent action is required even in
the face of scientific uncertainty.
Sustainable development requires fundamental changes in the conduct
of government, private institutions, and individuals.
Environmental and economic concerns are central to our national and
Sustainable development is best attained in a society in which free
Decisions affecting sustainable development should be open and permit
informed participation by affected and interested parties, that requires
a knowledgeable public, a free flow of information, and fair and
equitable opportunities for a review and redress.
Advances in science and technology are beneficial, increasing both
our understanding and range of choices about how humanity and the
environment relate. We must seek constant improvements in both science
and technology in order to achieve eco-efficiency, protect and restore
natural systems and change consumption patterns.
Sustainability in the United States is closely tied to global
sustainability. Our policies for trade, economic development, aid, and
environmental protection must be considered in the context of the
international implications of these policies.