The government is a key element to sustainability. Therefore, it is important that our governments support the current research on sustainability. With our ever changing world and government leaders, our nations may not always be focused on environmental issues. In the 1990’s, the UN began to encourage the different nations to start councils which would make decisions on how they would solve the issues of sustainability. The United States(USA) was one of the first to establish a council under the direction of President Clinton. The group, “The President’s Council on Sustainable Development,” was formed in 1993. It developed many different articles which discussed environmental issues and suggested solutions. They included a “We Believe” statement which defined their position.
This 16-point document stated what must happen in order for the USA to advance towards sustainability. The first of these points is as follows: “To achieve our vision of sustainable development, some things must grow--jobs, productivity, wages, capital and savings, profits, information, knowledge, and education--and others--pollution, waste, and poverty--must not.”
Other points in this document discussed how to grow the economy and the importance of protecting the environment. Unfortunately although this council had a good beginning all the work done by the council was dropped after President Clinton left office. No one knows what would have happened if the work on this program had continued. It might have collapsed like so many other organizations or it could have changed the United States policy. This was one of the world’s first attempts to deal with the serious environmental issues we are facing. To view the “We Believe Statement” and other relevant documents written by the council, please visit the link at the bottom of this article.
Australia is a country that is currently working to become more sustainable. Australia's new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has made some big changes since he recently came into office. The first major thing he did was to sign the Kyoto Protocol. He realized that the Australian Government needs to take action before it is too late. The Australian Government is also tackling its water crisis. Australia is the driest continent and its water supplies are becoming limited. To prevent a looming water shortage the government is working to reduce its water waste. Australia's government has recognized the seriousness of the situation and is working to solve its environmental problems.
Obviously, all governments play a large role in initiating programs that will guide their nations towards sustainability. Many nations are not moving forward because their governments lack the will to pursue solutions to these problems. We, as stewards of our environment, must stand up and tell our government that we care about our world. The government must then do everything in its power to carry out the wishes of its citizens.
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“Climate Change and Water”. Prime Minister of Australia. Accessed 11 January 2008.<http://www.pm.gov.au/topics/climate.cfm>
Gingrich, Newt and Terry Maple. A Contract with the Earth. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins UP, 2007. Accessed 11 January 2008.
"Sustainable America: A New Consensus". The President’s Council on Sustainable Development. Accessed 11 January 2008.<http://clinton2.nara.gov/PCSD/Publications/TF_Reports/amer-top.html >
Tackling Climate Change in Australia. “News and Events”. Accessed 11 January 2008.<http://www.climatechange.sa.gov.au/>
“We Believe Statement”. The President’s Council on Sustainable Development. Accessed 11 January 2008.<http://clinton2.nara.gov/PCSD/Publications/TF_Reports/amer-believe.html>
Wright, Richard and Bernard J. Nebel. Environmental Science: Toward a Sustainable Future. 8th ed. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2008. Accessed 11 January 2008.
Cadland. “Old and New”. Flickr.com. <http://flickr.com/photos/cadland/114041123/>
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