Principles of Sustainability

Principle Seven

Maintain and, if possible, enhance the quality of the environment

A sustainable community sees itself as existing within a physical environment and natural ecosystem and tries to find ways to co-exist with that environment. It does its part by avoiding unnecessary degradation of the air, oceans, fresh water, and other natural systems. It tries to replace detrimental practices with those that allow ecosystems to continuously renew themselves. In some cases, this means simply protecting what is already there by finding ways to redirect human activities and development into less sensitive areas. But a community may need to take action to reclaim, restore, or rehabilitate an already-damaged ecosystem such as a nearby wetland.


7.1 Environmental protection is an integral part of development
In order to achieve sustainable development, environmental protection shall constitute an integral part of the development process and cannot be considered in isolation from it.
7.2 Environmental impact assessments are essential
Environmental impact assessments, shall be undertaken for proposed activities that are likely to have a significant adverse impact on the environment and are subject to a decision of a competent national authority.
7.3 Provide timely information and assistance for environmental issues
Land owners shall provide prior and timely notification and relevant information to others potentially affected on activities that may have a significant adverse transboundary environmental effect, and shall consult with them at an early stage and in good faith.
7.4 Places that are environmentally vulnerable shall be given priority
The special situation and needs of places most environmentally vulnerable, shall be given special priority. Actions in the field of environment and development should also address the interests and needs of all.
7.5 Environmental disputes should be resolved peacefully
Resolution for all environmental disputes should be done peacefully, and by appropriate means.
7.6 Authorities should promote internalization of environmental costs
Authorities should endeavor to promote the internalization of environmental costs and the use of economic instruments, taking into account the approach that the polluter should, in principle, bear the cost of pollution, with due regard to the public interest and without distorting international trade and investment.
7.7 Appropriate food sources, clean water and space to live are critical to natural systems
An animal's habitat includes food, water, shelter and space in an arrangement appropriate to the animal's needs is imperative for sustainable design. If any of the components of habitat is missing or is affected significantly so that the arrangement for the individual animal or population of animals is no longer suitable, there will be an impact. The impact will not necessarily be catastrophic, but can be. Native plants provide a valuable source of food for wildlife.
7.8 Provisions for wildlife should be promoted and encouraged
There are a great many additional limiting factors beyond those of suitable food, water, shelter and space. For example, disease, predation, pollution, accidents and climatic conditions are among other factors which can have impact. All things are interrelated. When we look at a biological community, we find interrelationships and interdependencies between plants and plants, plants and animals, as well as animals and animals. These interrelationships and interdependencies are important.
7.9 Habitat and Natural Resource Areas should be identified, preserved and restored as valued assets
Natural resources such as wetlands, flood plains, recharge zones, riparian areas, open space, and native habitats should be identified, preserved and restored as valued assets for flood protection, water quality improvement, groundwater recharge, habitat, and overall long-term water resource sustainability.
7.10 A continuous system of greenbelt/wildlife corridors should be developed
Regions should be bounded by and provide a continuous system of greenbelt/wildlife corridors to be determined by natural conditions.
7.11 Catchment areas should be incorporated in ways that serve to recharge groundwater, reduce runoff, improve water quality and decrease flooding
Water holding areas such as creek beds, recessed athletic fields, ponds, cisterns, and other features that serve to recharge groundwater, reduce runoff, improve water quality and decrease flooding should be incorporated into the urban landscape.
7.12 All aspects of landscaping should be designed in ways that reduce water demand, retain runoff, decrease flooding, recharge ground
All aspects of landscaping from the selection of plants to soil preparation and the installation of irrigation systems should be designed to reduce water demand, retain runoff, decrease flooding, and recharge groundwater. Communities should provide for the efficient use of water through the use of natural drainage, drought tolerant landscaping and recycling. Wherever possible, the natural terrain, drainage and vegetation of the community should be preserved with superior examples contained within parks or greenbelts.
7.13 Permeable surfaces should be used for hardscape 
Permeable surfaces should be used for hardscape.  Impervious surfaces such as driveways, streets, and parking lots should be minimized so that land is available to absorb storm water, reduce polluted urban runoff, recharge groundwater and reduce flooding.
7.14 Community design should maximize the use of recycled water for appropriate applications
Community design should maximize the use of recycled water for appropriate applications including outdoor irrigation, toilet flushing, and commercial and industrial processes.  Purple pipe should be installed in all new construction and remodeled buildings in anticipation of the future availability of recycled water. Dual plumbing that allows graywater from showers, sinks and washers to be reused for landscape irrigation should be included in the infrastructure of new development.
7.15 Efforts should be taken to help conserve natural resources
Conservation of natural resources is the wise use of the earth's resources by humanity and refers to the management of such valuable natural resources as timber, fish, game, topsoil, pastureland, and minerals, and also to the preservation of forests, wildlife, parkland, wilderness, and watershed areas. Urban water conservation technologies such as low-flow toilets, efficient clothes washers, and more efficient water-using industrial equipment should be incorporated in all new construction and retrofitted in remodeled buildings.
7.16 Efforts should be taken to promote good energy management and improve efficiency
Energy efficiency has proved to be a cost-effective strategy for building economies without necessarily growing energy consumption. Making homes, vehicles, and businesses more energy efficient is seen as a largely untapped solution to addressing global warming and energy security. The street orientation, the placement of buildings and the use of shading should contribute to the energy efficiency of the community.
7.17 An Integrated Pest Management approach should be used
Integrated Pest Management is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. takes advantage of all appropriate pest management options including, but not limited to, the judicious use of pesticides.
7.18 Science-based best management practices (BMPs) should be used for nutrient management
Science-based best management practices (BMPs) should be used to ensure fertilizer is applied at the right rate, right time and right place. BMPs should be designed to ensure plants get the nutrients they need while minimizing nutrient losses to the environment.

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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A Coalition for Good - Spreading the Seeds of Sustainability

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