Pollution prevention federal action strategy: chapter 2

Fostering sustainable development

Economic, social, and cultural development are primary human endeavours. Sustainable development suggests that these human activities should respect inter-generational equity and occur within a milieu of respect for nature, protection of life-sustaining ecosystems, and wise management and efficient use of natural resources. Most nations, including Canada, acknowledge that there is an inextricable interdependence among species on earth and that the human species is dependent on conserving ecosystems. The thinning of the ozone layer, the threat of climate change, and the extinction of species are events that have required changes to our approach to economic development.

The federal government's environmental protection strategies are driven by a vision of environmentally sustainable economic development. This requires a clean, healthy environment, and a strong, healthy economy. By preventing the creation of pollutants and waste, we help protect the environment from harm. By increasing the efficiency of production, avoiding accidental and operational releases, and reducing the nonproductive costs of treatment and disposal, we make our economy more efficient and competitive.

Change to economic development flows from social, cultural, and technological change. The values and beliefs that are held by individuals and groups are the building blocks of progress in linking environmental and economic decision making. Many companies, both large and small, exemplify this change by taking primary responsibility for adopting a pollution prevention ethic. Within these companies, government is viewed as a support to their efforts, not as the controller of their environmental activity. This makes environmental progress part of a continuous effort to improve and opens the door to the innovation that is fundamental to achieving sustainable development.

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