Principles of Sustainability

Principle Three

Provide intergenerational equity and durability

The economy, environment, and social well-being should be managed for the equal benefit of present and future generations. A sustainable community does not deplete its resources, destroy natural systems, or pass along unnecessary hazards to future generations. We should incorporate disaster resilience and mitigation into our decisions and actions. A community is resilient in the face of inevitable natural disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and drought if it takes steps to ensure that such events cause as little damage as possible, that productivity is only minimally interrupted, and that quality of life remains at (or quickly returns to) high levels. A disaster-resilient community further takes responsibility for the risks it faces and, to the extent possible, is self reliant. That is, it does not anticipate that outside entities (such as federal or state government) can or will mitigate its hazards or pay for its disasters.


3.1 An informed democracy should be promoted to avoid poor or absent decision making
Poor or absent decision making is at the heart of the failure of governments worldwide to initiate significant change towards sustainability.  In situations of high or growing population and accompanying destruction of environmental resources, there is a heightened government responsibility to both the population and the environment.  Although competitive nature of democratic government can impede consensus on the urgency of sustainability problems, judgment at the polls generally means that it is possible to achieve some level of political accountability.
3.2 Government should be held accountable for its actions and/or inactions
Government accountability ultimately depends upon informed public opinion regarding environmental risks, and on moving human development assessment beyond the economic bottom line as the primary determining factor.
3.3 Good environmental standards, policies and management objectives are vital
Effective environmental legislation should be promoted. Effective environmental legislation should be promoted. Environmental standards, management objectives and priorities should reflect the environmental and developmental context to which they apply. Standards applied that are inappropriate and of unwarranted economic and social cost should be changed.
3.4 Cooperation to develop good environmental law should be embraced
Cooperation in an expeditious and more determined manner to develop laws regarding liability and compensation for adverse effects of environmental damage caused by activities within their jurisdiction or control to areas beyond their jurisdiction should be embraced.
3.5 Governments should take a proactive rather than reactive role, and facilitate a sustainable free-enterprise system
Rather than allowing developer-initiated, piecemeal development, governments should take charge of planning processes. General plans should designate where new growth, infill or redevelopment will be allowed to occur.
3.6 Warfare is inherently destructive to the natural environment
Warfare is inherently destructive to the environment. Nations shall respect international law providing protection for the environment in times of armed conflict, and cooperate in its further development, as necessary.

The Principles of Sustainability

The following list of principles is an attempt to provide a set of principles for sustainability applicable at all scales; global, national, regional, local and by the individual. 



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