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.

The Principles of Sustainability

  1. We must preserve and, where possible, restore the health and regenerative capacity of natural systems, including soils, water, air, and living organisms, that are essential to both economic prosperity and human life itself.

  2. Because economic growth, environmental protection, and social equity are interdependent, mutually reinforcing goals, local, regional, and national policies to attain them must be integrated.

  3. In conjunction with appropriate laws and regulations, the power of free markets and private initiative should be harnessed to protect and improve the environment.

  4. Human population must be stabilized at a level consistent with the capacity of the earth to support all its inhabitants in healthy conditions over the long term.

  5. In order to protect natural systems and preserve their benefits for future generations, current patterns of consumption should be altered through steady improvements in the efficiency of natural resource use.

  6. Steady progress in reducing poverty is essential to economic growth, environmental quality, and social justice.

  7. All segments of society should share equitably in both the costs and benefits of economic growth and environmental protection.

  8. Recognizing our responsibility to the future, the present generation should preserve for posterity the widest possible range of economic opportunities and choices.

  9. Where public health may be affected adversely, or environmental damage may be serious or irreversible, protective action may be necessary even in the face of scientific uncertainty.

  10. The traditional behavior of government, private institutions, and individuals must change fundamentally if we are to ensure economic growth, environmental protection, and social equity over the long term.

  11. A growing economy and a healthy environment are essential to both national and global security.

  12. Sustainable development is best attained in a society where free institutions flourish.

  13. A knowledgeable public, the free flow of information, and opportunities for review and redress are critically important to open, equitable, and effective decisionmaking.

  14. We must make steady advances in science and technology to help improve economic efficiency, protect and restore natural systems, and modify consumption patterns.

  15. Since sustainability in the United States is closely tied to global sustainability, U.S. policies regarding trade, economic development, and environmental protection must evolve in the context of their international implications.

  16. Citizens must have access to formal and lifelong non-formal education that enables them to understand the interdependence of economic growth, environmental quality, and social equity, and prepares them to take actions that support all three.

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