Sustainability

GOAL: Achieve a sustainable community that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

 

Sustainability is a concept that recognizes that natural systems are essential to providing botheconomic needs and quality of life. Sustainability gained international attention at the 1992 United Nations’ Conference on Environment and Development. In 1993, the Virginia General Assembly passed House Joint Resolution No. 653, encouraging the Governor, state and local officials, and the leaders of educational institutions and civic organizations to work together to prepare a Virginia strategy for sustainable development.

 

The Thomas Jefferson Sustainability Council was created in 1994 by the regional Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. The Council grew out of the 1990-92 Thomas Jefferson Study to Preserve and Assess the Regional Environment (TJSPARE). It is a 34-member council with representatives from the six member localities: Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Nelson counties, and the City of Charlottesville. The diverse group of farmers, business people, foresters, environmentalists, developers and elected officials was given the charge to “describe a

future where our economic, human, social, and environmental health are assured.” The Council addressed the areas of: human population, basic human needs, economic development, transportation, land development, waste, values/ethics, community awareness, interdependence/balance, government, natural environment, and agriculture/forestry.

 

The Council has developed a mission statement, principles that govern a sustainable community, and the goals, objectives, indicators and benchmarks of a sustainable region. These conclusions stress the importance of taking the long view and the interdependence of all aspects of a community. The Mission of the Thomas Jefferson Sustainability Council is to provide citizens throughout the Region with information and encouragement to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

 

The final product of the Council’s work is development of 15 Statements of Accord. Through the Accords and the State of the Region Report the Council now seeks to develop a consensus in the localities, within local governments and among the diverse interests of the community to work together for a sustainable future in the Region.

 

Strategy: Review and support as appropriate the following Sustainability

Council’s Statements of Accord:

Encourage and maintain strong ties between the Region’s urban and rural areas, fostering healthy economic, environmental, social and political interactions.

Strive for a size and distribution of human population that will preserve the vital resources of the Region for future generations.

Retain the natural habitat required to support viable plant and animal communities that make up the Region’s biological diversity.

Ensure that water quality and quantity in the Region are sufficient to support the human

population and ecosystems.

Optimize the use and reuse of developed land. Promote clustering in residential areas and the integration of business, industry, recreation, residential and open space.

Promote the consideration of appropriate scale in all development and land use decisions.

Retain farmland and forest land for the future.

Broaden the use of sustainable forestry practices among loggers and landowners.

Promote the sale of locally produced farm and forest products in local, national and

international markets.

Develop attractive and economical transportation alternatives to single occupancy vehicle use.

Promote the conservation and efficient use of energy resources.

Provide, at all levels, educational opportunities open to every member of the community.

Ensure that every member of the community is able to obtain employment that provides just compensation, mobility, and fulfillment.

Increase individual participation in neighborhood and community organizations.

Encourage greater understanding of sustainability issues as they affect individuals and the Region, using formal and informal education and local media coverage.

 

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