What is sustainability?
There is no simple definition of 'sustainability'. It can be an idea, a property of living systems, a manufacturing method or a way of life. In fact, there may be as many definitions of sustainability as there are people trying to define it. However, most definitions include:
* living within the limits of what the environment can provide * understanding the many interconnections between economy, society and the environment * the equal distribution of resources and opportunities.
| Resource use e.g. water
| Human and worker rights
| Local industry participation
| Waste generation
| Paying appropriate wages
| Jobs created
| Material sourcing
| Working conditions
| Atmospheric pollution
| Freedom of association
| Public reporting
| Toxic material disposal
| Workforce diversity
| Sustainable development aims to meet human needs in the present while preserving the environment so that these needs can also be met in the indefinite future. OEH implements environmental sustainability programs that include actions to: * reduce the use of physical resources including water and energy * encourage recycling
* increase the use of renewable resources
* encourage redesign of production processes and products to eliminate the production of toxic materials * protect and restore natural habitats and environments valued for their biodiversity or beauty. These programs aim to strike the balance between benefits for the environment and society and economic costs - helping to move NSW towards a more sustainable future. Did You Know?
* Australians spend over $10.5 billion annually on goods and services that are never or hardly ever used. This is more than the total spent by governments on Australian universities and roads. * Over $5.3 billion worth of food was thrown away in 2004. This equates to 13 times the amount Australians donated to overseas aid agencies at that time. (Source - Australia Institute, 2005 DP77)
Sustainable purchasing can save money as well as the environment. Reduced consumption means reduced purchasing costs - saving resources such as water, energy and raw materials and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Page last updated: 06 May 2013
The Sustainable Environments Program is working to overhaul our country’s outdated and crumbling infrastructure with a new approach that will foster healthier, sustainable, and just communities. We believe in the potential of what we call “next generation infrastructure” to improve transit systems, make buildings more energy efficient, better manage our water systems and rebuild regional food systems. Focusing on urban areas and their surrounding suburbs, we seek solutions that connect and improve these infrastructure systems in ways that maximize positive impacts and minimize negative environmental, economic and social consequences. Click on the infographic below to explore and learn more about the emerging vision of Next Generation Infrastructure. Click on each icon for additional details about our approach to fostering just and sustainable communities.
Our infrastructure systems are overburdened by increased demand, extreme weather, and shrinking public budgets. The urgency and opportunity behind this challenge is driving us to look at our past grantmaking efforts around smart growth, climate and energy, and green economies through a lens of next generation infrastructure. Currently, many decisions about infrastructure repair and replacement are disjointed, short on authentic community engagement, and limited to traditional engineering approaches that waste money, restrict opportunity and damage the environment. By taking a systems-based approach, we can deliver better services to more people to the benefit of the environment and economy. The Sustainable Environments Program seeks to create just and sustainable...
References: 18. 17.↵
Soskolne CL, Bertollini R. Global ecological integrity and “sustainable development” cornerstones of public health; December 3, 1998–December 4, 1998
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