Why Sustainability? | Region 10 | US EPA

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Why Sustainability?

Photo of Oregon beach at haystack rockSustainability is a long term approach to environmental protection and process improvements. Sustainable design prevents pollution from the start and calls for systems thinking, which acknowledges the connections between the economy, the environment and social responsibility.

Complex Problems Require Integrated Solutions

Climate Change - According to the National Academy of Sciences, the Earth's surface temperature has risen by about 1 degree Fahrenheit in the past century, with accelerated warming during the past two decades. There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities. Today, action is occurring at every level to reduce, to avoid, and to better understand the risks associated with climate change.
Animated Introduction to Greenhouse Gases
State Specific Information
Puget Sound Action Team Report
White House Global Climate Change Policy Book

Real World Examples of Sustainable Solutions

Brownfields EPA's Brownfields Program is designed to empower states, communities, and other stakeholders in economic redevelopment to work together in a timely manner to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse brownfields. Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties takes development pressures off of undeveloped, open land, and improves and protects the environment.

Smart Growth Is there an alternative to sprawl that preserves the integrity, uniqueness, and vitality of neighborhoods, preserves natural diversity, yet offers the benefits of modern living? Here's what some experts are saying could be a sustainable and community supporting alternative.

Becoming a Green Community A 5-step planning and implementation process to help communities achieve their economic, social and environmental goals. Each step results in a specific outcome. This framework can help guide a community to assess its existing conditions, project trends, determine what you want your community to be in 5, 10, 50 years, and design and implement actions that will achieve your community's vision.

Environmental Management Systems An EMS is a continual cycle of planning, implementing, reviewing and improving the processes and actions that an organization undertakes to meet its business and environmental goals.

Beneficial Landscaping

[["The future of environmental protection rests in the hands of the generations of people who are able to adjust their behavior for the benefit of their children and continue to prosper economically. That is a fundamental tenet of sustainability. Environmental Stewardship paired with economic viability while treating all people in a socially responsible manner.

"I believe every sector of society can embrace these values. As each person, each company, organization and group discovers the rewards from finding new ways to embrace these three elements of behavior, we will all be securing a brighter future."
Elin D. Miller
Regional Administrator
EPA Region 10

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URL: http://yosemite.epa.gov/R10/OI.NSF/Sustainability/Why

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