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Sustainability

What is sustainability? | What is EPA doing? | How can I help?


What is sustainability?

Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment.† Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.

Sustainability is important to making sure that we have and will continue to have, †the water, materials, and resources to protect human health and our environment.

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What is EPA doing?

Sustainability has emerged as a result of significant concerns about the unintended social, environmental, and economic consequences of rapid population growth, economic growth and consumption of our natural resources.†
In its early years, EPA acted primarily as the nationís environmental watchdog, striving to ensure that industries met legal requirements to control pollution. In subsequent years, EPA began to develop theory, tools, and practices that enabled it to move from controlling pollution to preventing it.

Today EPA aims to make sustainability the next level of environmental protection by drawing on advances in science and technology to protect human health and the environment, and promoting innovative green business practices.

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How can I help?

EPA has tools to help you learn and understand the issues and help you reduce your environmental footprint.† Visit the Green Living area of our website.

Government Regulations and Practices

Executive Order 13423: “Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management” of 2007 set policy and specific goals for federal agencies to ”conduct their environmental, transportation, and energy-related activities under the law in support of their respective missions in an environmentally, economically and fiscally sound, integrated, continuously improving, efficient, and sustainable manner.”

Executive Order 13514: “Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance” of 2009 enhances EO 13423 "to establish an integrated strategy towards sustainability in the Federal Government and to make reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) a priority for Federal agencies.”

The Federal Government Sustainability website includes the latest information from federal agencies relevant to developing and maintaining sustainable facilities and to developing and promoting sustainable practices within their environmental programs.

Greening EPA. EPA implements a wide range of programs to reduce the environmental impact of its facilities and operations, from building new, environmentally sustainable structures to improving the energy efficiency of older buildings.

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