In Towards a Sustainable America, the President's Council on Sustainable Development recommends over 140 specific actions Americans can take to realize a new prosperity for our families and communities. The Council reached agreement on how we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the climate; make environmental management systems more effective, flexible, and accountable; develop metropolitan and rural strategies for building livable communities; and foster U.S. leadership on sustainable development.
In reaching consensus on some of the most critical issues facing the United States at the dawn of the 21st Century, the Council demonstrates that America is ready to cross the boundaries of race, class, sector, and place to achieve a better future. The Council articulates the goal of a sustainable America in terms of concrete ideas, success stories, and proposals for national and local policy. From market incentives to eliminate pollution to mortgages that fight sprawl, this report highlights approaches that work, forged from a broad consensus around innovative ideas.
As the Council developed these recommendations, it met in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Atlanta, Georgia; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and many other communities to hear the views and ideas of citizens across America. The Council's four task forces heard from scores of experts from all walks of American life. The recommendations in this report represent the wisdom they shared with us, as well as the views and ideas of our Council members.
The Council offered recommendations for communities, businesses, non-profit groups, individuals, and all levels of government. We hope this report lights the path to a more sustainable America, continues to move ideas into action, and informs the efforts of individuals and organizations as they further our well-being and the sustainability of society.
The President's Council on Sustainable Development is a presidentially-appointed panel of leaders of U.S. businesses, environmental and citizen organizations, Native American groups, and local and federal government officials. The Council is the only presidential or federal advisory panel charged with recommending policies across the full spectrum of economic, environmental, and social policy issues. The Council has issued several reports on sustainable development and has successfully fostered many local and regional efforts to achieve a better future.
Key Findings and Recommendations
The Council reached agreement on a set of principles to guide overall U.S. climate policy. Specifically, the Council:
Environmental Management System
The Council identified the attributes of an environmental management framework designed for sustainable development and recommended 34 concrete actions to move the existing framework in a more sustainable direction. Specifically, the Council concluded that moving environmental management into the 21st Century requires:
Metropolitan and Rural Strategies for Sustainable Communities
Sustainable community development is taking hold, gaining momentum, and producing benefits, as hundreds of communities and regions across America are taking bold and creative actions to preserve and enhance the economic, ecological, and social assets of the places they work, play, and live
The Council examined how international private capital flows affect sustainable development, particularly investments in developing countries. The Council concluded that: