Discover the Future is designed to serve as a clearinghouse for information relating to sustainability. It serves the following functions:
- It is an educational tool for learning about sustainability.
- It is a resource for information on what you can do to promote sustainable practices.
- It is a portal to stakeholder websites to provide a wide range of perspectives and technical information.
- It provides tools that promote sustainable practices.
- It is an opportunity to celebrate success stories that occur in our governments, businesses, institutions and homes relative to sustainability.
A Sustainable Future for Chester County
Chester County is committed to promoting sustainability in our development, environmental protection and business practices. The adoption of the County's long-range policy plan, Landscapes2, brought a renewed commitment to growth management and preservation efforts in a sustainable fashion.
Sustainable development can be defined as a pattern of resource use that aims to meet current needs while preserving the environment so that the needs of both the present and future generations can be met. In 1987, the United Nations released the "Brundtland Report", which defined sustainable development as "development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
Sustainable development links the carrying capacity of natural systems with the social challenges facing society. As early as the 1970s "sustainability" was employed to describe an economy in equilibrium with basic ecological support systems.
The field of sustainability can be conceptually separated into three constituent parts: environmental, economic and social. Sustainable development is best attained when these three constituent elements are balanced.
Going Beyond Green
Sustainability goes beyond "green" initiatives. It requires a new way of viewing the world and how we manage our resources on a day-to-day basis, and introduces the total impact of our actions in the decision making process. In the long term, employing sustainable practices will save us money and energy.
Green development is generally differentiated from sustainable development in that Green development focuses on energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. Proponents of Sustainable development argue that it provides a context in which to improve overall social, environmental and economic values.
For a sustainability program to remain sustainable, it requires strong partnerships between Chester County government and other stakeholders. County governmental departments, local government officials, business leaders, farmers, utilities, bankers, educators and homeowners all have a stake in making a difference.
These working partnerships can champion sustainable development within designated growth areas as defined by the Chester County Comprehensive Plan, Landscapes2. Working with municipal officials and the development community will mutually promote "Smart Growth" principles that will result in more efficient use of resources, infrastructure and municipal services in the future.