Sustainable Development.pdf - Sustainable Development

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					This learning module is not meant to provide a comprehensive summary
of this topic. Rather, it aims to provide a useful introduction and we
encourage you to use the links located throughout and at the end of the
module to explore points of interest.
Sustainable Development

Sustainable development focuses on improving
the quality of life for all the Earth’s citizens
without increasing the use of natural resources
beyond the capacity of the environment to supply
them indefinitely. The sustainable development
concept begins with an understanding that
inaction has consequences and that we must find              Source:

innovative ways to change institutional structures and influence individual

There is growing understanding of the interconnection between global
ecological, economic and political/social systems and it has become important
to consider economic prosperity in an integrated way with social development
and environmental protection. Traditional decision-making, which focused
primarily on social and/or economic considerations, with environmental issues
usually neglected unless the policy issue specifically pertained to the
environment, has been replaced with an integrated decision-making approach,
in which environmental issues must be considered along with the social and
economic ones.

Sustainable Development is about taking action and changing policy and
practice at all levels, from the individual to the international. To make
sustainable development a reality, there must be cooperation and change
from governments, businesses and communities around the world.

The information contained in this module will provide an overview of
sustainable development and help you to learn:

         what sustainable development is and why it’s important;
         about different ways of viewing sustainable development;
         how Canada measures up to international efforts to embrace
         sustainable development approaches; and,
         what you can do to live a ‘greener’ life.

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        What is Sustainable Development?
        Canada's Key Sustainable Development Objectives
        Different Ways of Viewing Sustainable Development
        Why is Sustainable Development Important?
        What Can We Do?
        References & Resources

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What is Sustainable Development (SD)?

                                             The Brundtland Report
                                             The most commonly used definition today comes from
                                             “Our Common Future,” more commonly known as the
                                             Brundtland Report, the result of the work done by
                                             the World Commission on Environment and

                                             “Sustainable development is development that meets
                                             the needs of the present without compromising the
                                             ability of future generations to meet their own
                                             needs.” Source: /international_uno/unterseite02330/

The ultimate goal of SD is the advancement of                                             Sustainable in this context means to
life within the carrying capacity of the                                                  maintain the necessary and desired
environment and at no expense to future                                                   characteristics of people, their
                                                                                          communities and their surrounding
generations. It is based on the logic that as a
                                                                                          environment for the long term
society works toward progress, its initiatives                                            (indefinitely).
are more likely to be sustainable if they are
based on integrated decision making that                                                  Development in this context means
                                                                                          to bring something to a fuller and
acknowledges the interdependent linkages                                                  better condition. It is a qualitative
between economic growth, social development                                               idea that should be distinguished
and environmental protection. It assesses not                                             from growth, which is purely a
only the immediate but the long-term impacts                                              quantitative physical increase. The
                                                                                          combination of these two concepts
of one on the other, seeks resolution of                                                  “sustainable” and “development”
conflicting views, mitigates any negative                                                 embody the world need to preserve
impacts, and, ultimately, indicates the best                                              and improve certain areas in order
                                                                                          for life (people, plants and animals)
way forward for a sustained result. (Source: DFAIT
Sustainable Development Strategy:    to endure.

For an interactive look at the milestones that have marked the journey
toward sustainable development, check-out the Sustainable Development
Timeline from the Sustainable Development Gateway:

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An Evolving Concept
Sustainable development is a generally accepted concept applicable in all
walks of life, but it is not a static concept. It is an ongoing process that
requires constant re-evaluation of current and future needs, and requires a
careful assessment of the strengths of every household, community, or
organization to determine priority actions.

 Did you know?
 In 1999, at least 1.1 billion   Goals may well need to be refined over time
 people were living on $1/day. * in light of new information and events.
                                 However, setting provisional targets allows
us to develop strategies to avoid critical risks and keep options open for the

The Elements of Sustainable Development
The main elements of sustainable development emerged at the 1972 United
Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, Sweden. More
than a decade later, the World Commission on Environment and Development
(the Brundtland Commission, 1987) built on earlier work by encouraging
sustainable development in three inter-related areas:

     Equity: A commitment to equity involves the fair distribution of the
     costs and benefits of development between the rich and the poor,
     between generations, and among nations. Equity also implies that we all
     have the means to meet basic needs, and that we are all entitled to basic
     rights. Sustainable development acknowledges that if we ignore our
     effects on others in an interdependent world, we do so at our own peril.

     Integrated Decision-making: Sustainable development essentially asks
     us to undertake a new paradigm of decision-making. It challenges us to
     view the issues facing us through a more holistic and forward-looking
     lens. Traditional decision-making focused primarily on social and/or
     economic considerations, with environmental issues usually neglected
     unless the policy issue specifically pertained to the environment. Now,
     environmental issues must be considered along with the social and
     economic ones. Integrated decision-making of this nature is important at
     both the strategic (policy) level, and at the level of project

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     Quality of Life: Quality of life is important to all peoples. Like
     Canadians, others want an economy that performs well. A healthy
     economy meets demands for job creation, economic security and
     improved living standards. It also allows countries to pursue the social
     objectives that are key elements of their quality of life – including
     health, education, safety and security systems – now and for future

 Did you know?
 It is estimated that the additional cost of achieving and maintaining universal access to
 basic education for all, basic health care for all, reproductive health care for all women,
 adequate food for all, and clean water and safe sewers for all, is roughly $40 billion a year
 – or less than 4% of the combined wealth of the 225 richest people in the world. *

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Canada’s Key Sustainable Development Objectives

Sustaining our Natural Resources
Much of Canada’s wealth is based on its rich endowment of natural
resources. For the many Canadians dependent on the natural resource
sector, sustainable development of the resource
base is linked not only to job security, but also to a
way of life that has supported their communities
for decades.

One in thirteen Canadians depends on a productive
resource base and healthy ecosystems for their employment in resource
industries, tourism or recreation. In addition, more than one-quarter of
Canada’s trade is dependent on the resource sector. To sustain these
benefits into the future, Canada must:

     Ensure renewable resources development is sustainable. Renewable
     resources development is sustainable if it remains within the capacity of
     the resource base to regenerate itself, and if it respects the integrity
     of ecosystems on which the resource depends. A strong natural
     resources sector can only be supported within the framework of sound
     ecological and environmental practices. Renewable resources should be
     managed on an integrated basis in recognition of the full range of their
     uses and values, including commodities production, habitat for wildlife,
     parks and wilderness.

 Did you know?
 Every day, 799 million people in developing countries – about 18% of the world’s
 population – go hungry - in South Asia one person in four goes hungry, and in Sub-
 Saharan Africa the share is as high as one in three - India is home to the largest number
 of hungry people, 233 million, while Sub-Saharan Africa has 183 million, China 119
 million, the rest of East Asia and the Pacific 74 million, Latin America 55 million and the
 Arab States 32 million. *

     Ensure efficient use of non-renewable resources. Minerals, oil, gas, and
     coal are examples of resources that are not renewable. The role of these
     resources in a sustainable development strategy can be assured by sound
     policies that encourage efficient extraction and manufacturing

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     processes and uses, as well as by policies and programs that stimulate,
     where appropriate, recycling or the development of substitutes. Through
     the implementation of its Program Review, for example, Natural
     Resources Canada will reorient energy policy from a traditional focus on
     supply to an increased emphasis on efficiency, alternative and renewable
     energy sources, the environment, and sustainable development. The
     Whitehorse Mining Leadership Council Accord (
     mms/poli/ wmi_e.htm) also sets a course towards sustainable development in
     the mining sector.

 Did you know?
 In 1999, per capita carbon dioxide emissions in high-income OECD countries exceeded 12
 metric tonnes – compared with 0.2 tonnes in the least developed countries. *

Protecting the Health of Canadians and of Ecosystems
Ecosystems receive the wastes produced by industrial, agricultural and
other activities. Although the environment can absorb some waste, certain
chemical residues can remain in ecosystems for years and can be found in
the tissues of animals and plants – some of which we depend
on for food. The challenge posed by sustainable development
is to alter waste discharge and reduce quantities of waste to
protect the environment and human health. This is best
accomplished through application of pollution prevention
methodology and recycling of products.

The preservation of unique and representative areas and
species maintains options and flexibility for future responses to unforeseen
and changing environmental conditions as well as social and economic
demands. Due to their long-term health and environmental implications,
toxic, anthropogenic (human-made) substances that accumulate in the
tissues of plants and animals and that persist in the environment, should be
managed to prevent their release into the environment, or phased-out, if
containment is not possible. The Toxic Substances Management Policy
(, recently released by the federal
government, sets out its approach for assessing and managing the risks
associated with toxic substances.

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Preventing pollution and waste rather than dealing with their consequence
can make a significant contribution to environmental protection. Pollution
prevention involves the use of processes, practices, materials or energy that
avoid or minimize the creation of pollutants and waste and reduce overall
risk to human health or the environment. The draft, “Pollution Prevention: A
Federal Strategy for Action,” (
strategy/en/index.cfm) sets priorities for the federal government to
internalize pollution prevention within Canadian society.

Protecting Representative Areas
Protected spaces are home to many forms of plant and animal life, are the
setting for many significant events in Canada’s history, and are often a focal
point for recreation and tourism activities. Representative areas are also
important indicators of overall ecosystem health. Canada’s objective is to
protect a representative sample of each of the country’s natural regions, to
accelerate the protection of marine natural regions, and to accelerate the
identification and protection of critical wildlife habitat. The federal
government has also established the goal to protect and promote Canada’s
historical heritage.

 Did you know?
 The net worth of 10 ‘human’ billionaires is greater than the combined national income of
 the forty-eight poorest countries combined. *

Meeting Canada’s International Obligations
Internationally, Canada works with other governments through agreements,
programs and institutions. Bilateral and multilateral negotiations and
agreements on such issues as climate change, the high seas fishery and
forestry practices are the key means by which Canada cooperates with other
countries in resolving international sustainable development issues.
International agreements have been reached to protect the ozone layer,
reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and conserve biodiversity. In addition to
agreements that are obviously ‘environmental’ in nature, many other
agreements have a profound impact on sustainable development.

     Protecting the Ozone Layer. In 1987, recognizing the human health,
     environmental and economic implications of ozone depletion, 139
     countries signed the Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depleting Substances,

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     which established a timetable for the reduction and elimination of
     specific ozone depleting substances.

     Conserving Biodiversity. Biodiversity is the variety, richness, and
     complexity of life that exists within nature. Development is sustainable
     if it maintains this diversity. Some human activity is resulting in an
     unprecedented loss of biodiversity. Canada signed the United Nations
     Convention on Biological Diversity in June 1992 as part of the global
     response to this loss. The          Did you know?
     Canadian Biodiversity Strategy      Global climate change could lead to rising
     sets out the vision, goals, and     sea levels. With a one metre rise in sea
     strategic directions to guide       level, Egypt could see 12% of its territory –
                                         home to 7 million people – disappear.
     the actions of governments and Rising seas threaten to make several small
     citizens in protecting Canada’s     island nations – such as the Maldives and
     vital interests and meeting its     Tuvalu – uninhabitable, and to swamp vast
                                         areas of other countries. *
     commitments under the

     Other Agreements. A number of other agreements exist or are being
     negotiated, including those on acid rain, the trans-boundary
     transportation of hazardous substances, environment and trade,
     forestry and the management of high seas and coastal fisheries.

Promoting Equity
The question of inter-generational equity is one of the key aspects of
sustainable development. Development should not be achieved by simply
passing the costs of human activity from one generation to another.

Although it is not possible to predict with precision the likely interests of
future generations, it is safe to assume that their needs will not be
significantly less than our own. Sustainable development requires that future
generations be able to benefit from the environment (social, economic, and
ecological) to the same degree as current generations. A related concept is
ensuring a fair distribution of the current costs and benefits of sustainable

The Brundtland Commission pointed to the inequitable distribution of wealth
between the nations of North and South as a major barrier to achieving

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sustainable development. The aid, trade and debt policies of higher income
countries should foster higher standards of living, without increasing
pressure on global ecosystems.

Domestically, the principal challenge is to extend the benefits of our
economic prosperity and high quality of life to a broader segment of the
population while maintaining the fundamental integrity of our ecosystems.
Poverty, gender equity, unemployment, regional impacts, and the rights and
responsibilities of First Nations are some of the key issues for Canada.

Problems such as environmental degradation
                                                   Did you know?
and growing disparities between rich and           The 1997 Kyoto Protocol places
poor affect human security around the world        most of the burden on rich
and are areas where Canada can make an             countries, because although they
                                                   contain only 16% of the world’s
effective contribution by promoting
                                                   population, they generate 51% of
sustainable development through its program        emissions. *
of development cooperation.

Improving Our Quality of Life and Well-Being
The ultimate aim of development is to improve the quality of human life.
People depend on their environment and on economic development to meet
their basic needs and to improve their quality of life. Economic growth is an
important component of development, and reviving growth through improved
productivity is the primary focus of economic policy. Economic growth also
provides the wealth to make investments in protecting the environment,
supporting education, advancing science and technology, and in maintaining
the health and well-being of Canadians.

     Fostering improved productivity through Environmental Efficiency. The
     Government’s Jobs and Growth Agenda focuses on improved productivity
     – the efficiency with which people, capital, resources, and ideas are
     combined – as the key to providing Canadians with more job opportunities
     and greater income. Environmental efficiency is an important dimension
     of productivity. It means producing more with less – less resource inputs,
     less waste. Many environmental improvements, including better energy
     and water efficiency, waste minimization and pollution prevention are
     achieved by, or result in, the reduction of inputs, which translates into a

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     reduction of costs. Missions that have implemented green plans are
     seeing these cost reductions.

     Innovation towards Sustainable Development. The challenge is to design
     policies and programs that help to make measurable progress on the full
     range of sustainable development issues while stimulating innovation and
     competitiveness. This entails an emphasis on developing a predictable
     policy regime with longer-term time horizons, a focus on results, the use
     of flexible instruments to achieve them, and full consideration of the
     environmental and economic implications. It also requires the
     Government to direct available funds to promising new research and
     development initiatives, to foster and commercialize new technologies,
     and to seek out new domestic and global market opportunities. The
     Government’s Jobs and Growth Agenda, Environmental Industries
     Strategy, and Science and Technology Review provide important policy
     context for innovations towards sustainable development.

     Did you know?
     Of the 680 million primary school-age children in developing countries, 115
     million do not attend school - three-fifths of them girls. *

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Different Ways of Viewing Sustainable Development

Visual Metaphors
Sustainable development is a                           Did you know?
multifaceted concept that can be                       Up to 20% of the disease burden in
                                                       developing countries may be due to
difficult to communicate to others.                    environmental risk factors (as with
People who work in this field often use                malaria and parasitic infections).
visual metaphors as a way of representing              Preventive measures to reduce such
and communicating these complexities.                  hazards are as important as treatment
                                                       – and often more cost-effective. New
                                                       biodiversity-derived medicines hold
The four visual metaphors introduced in                promise for fighting major diseases. *
this section represent different ways of
“seeing” sustainable development. No single metaphor is better than another;
each has its place in helping us to understand sustainable development in all
its complexity.

The Mobile
The mobile is a useful metaphor when trying to explain the
interdependency of sustainable development activities. Each
lobe on the mobile represents an aspect of human

When changes are made in one area, the equilibrium of the entire mobile is
affected – for the better it is hoped. The entire structure remains in motion
until a new equilibrium is found.

The mobile metaphor is a useful reminder that the full range of possible
consequences should be considered carefully before implementing a
development initiative.

Did you know?
Half of Africans live in extreme poverty, one-third in hunger, and about one-sixth of children
die before age 5? *

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Lenses in a Sphere
The Lenses in a Sphere metaphor helps to capture the idea that the
perspective you begin with colours your impression of the problem, possible
solutions, and likely outcomes.

For instance, looking at sustainable development
through an environment lens is likely to highlight
environmental needs and suggest environmental
approaches – perhaps to the exclusion of other
possibilities. That would also be true if you
looked through the political lens, or social development lens.

The implication is that every need should be viewed through as many lenses
as possible in order to understand the need in all its dimensions and to
fashion an integrated response.

Did you know?
Global climate change could lead to increased variability of precipitation during Asian
summer monsoons, resulting in reduced food production and increased hunger. *

The Egg of Sustainability
               In the “egg of sustainability”, humanity is represented as
               the yolk and the ecosystem as the egg white. Together, they
               represent a complete, but fragile entity.

                This metaphor is used to communicate the idea that people
                are an integral part of an ecosystem and that the well-being
                of both people and the ecosystem need to be improved
                together. Only when both the human and the ecosystem
conditions are good or improving do you have a sustainable society.

 Did you know?
 More than three-quarters of hungry people are in rural areas of developing countries and
 about half live in farm households on marginal lands, where environmental degradation
 threatens agricultural production. *

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A System in Balance
The Systems Perspective of sustainable development is
borrowed from systems engineering, which solves
multifaceted problems by applying knowledge from a
variety of disciplines in effective combinations.

 Did you know?                 The systems perspective recognizes that there
 In 2000, at least 1.1 billion
                               are a number of distinct circles of sustainable
 people – about one in five –
 did not have access to safe   development activity, each with its own
 water. *                      theories, priorities, and activities. However,
                               when addressing complex human development
needs, it is rare to find one of these needs in isolation. It is helpful to think
of the circles overlapping – sometimes to a greater extent, other times to a
lesser extent. In the places where one or more of the circles overlap, you
find hybrid approaches that draw from the strengths of each intersecting

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Why is Sustainable Development Important?

The Sustainable Development Imperative
As the interconnectedness of our lives is made more apparent, the need for
a modus operandi that assesses, as much as possible, the short and long-
term impacts of any action and mitigates the negative factors, seems
apparent. Sustainable development is such a modus operandi.

        Thinning Ozone Layer: Emissions in the North have thinned the
        protective ozone layer over Antarctica, increasing the rates of skin
        cancer in the south. (To read more …
        Financial Crises: Financial Crises in Asia have threatened the
        economies of other countries around the world. (To read more …
        Ethnic Violence: Ethnic violence in Central Africa has led to refugee
        migrations that are overwhelming the support systems of nearby
        regions. (To read more …
        Deforestation: At the current rate of deforestation, the Amazon
        Forest could cease to exist within one hundred or two hundred years.
        (To read more …
        Desertification: Africa and many other parts of the world are
        affected by desertification, the loss of vegetation, organisms, and the

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        expansion of degraded soil, leading to severe food shortages. (To read
        more …
        Threatened Marine Biodiversity: All around the world, much of the
        world’s marine biodiversity face threats from activities and events
        such as coastal development, over-fishing, inland pollution and global
        climate change. (To read more …
        Radioactive Contaminates: Radioactive contamination, a result of the
        nuclear industry’s careless past, has damaged several regions in
        Russia. Lake Karachay is now considered to be one of the most
        polluted spots on Earth. (To read more …
        Environmental Impact of Fast-food Restaurant Chains: The
        proliferation of fast-food restaurants in North America is having a
        major environmental impact. Intensive breeding of livestock and
        poultry for these restaurants leads to deforestation, land
        degradation, and contamination of water sources and other natural
        resources. (To read more …
        Air Pollution: The prevalence of heavy industry, the intensive use of
        low quality fossil fuels, substantial lack of modern production and
        environmental technologies, as well as a recent rapid growth in the
        number of passenger cars is causing air quality problems to be the top
        environmental priority in Europe. (To read more … http://

The Need for Sustainable Development
Ultimately, SD considerations incorporated into policies, work plans and
actions will help address pressing sustainable development needs around the
world in the knowledge that without a decent quality of life, supported by
sustained broad-based economic growth, people cannot maintain
environmental protection measures.

 Did you know?
 More than two billion people lack access to electricity and the services it provides,
 including lighting, refrigeration, telecommunications and mechanical power. *

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What can we do? Time is running out. We are already faced with full-scale
emergencies through ‘freshwater shortages, tropical forest destruction,
species extinction, urban air pollution, and climate change.’ Refer to to find out what
critical actions are needed. Source: default.htm

What is Canada doing?
Canada has chosen a distinctive way to incorporate sustainable development
as policy. Whereas countries like England developed an overarching national
strategy, Canada made the decision to approach the change
from the departmental level.

Amendments to the Auditor General Act in 1995 legislated
all federal departments and agencies to develop strategies
specific to their mandates. The learning experience this
afforded was intended to indicate the policies, institutional arrangements
and tools each one required to promote the most effective integration of
sustainable development as policy.

To read more about sustainable cities, communities and societies around the
world, refer to these Web sites:
SustainableCities/ and http://

 Did you know?
 Global climate change could lead to reduced water availability in many water-scarce
 regions, particularly subtropical regions, such as parts of South-East Asia. *

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 Specifically, 1995 Amendments to the Auditor General Act:

 •   Required all Ministers to table a first Sustainable Development Strategy
     for their departments by 1997 and to table updated strategies every
     three years thereafter.

 •   Established the position of the Commissioner of the Environment and
     Sustainable Development in the Office of the Auditor General whose
     responsibility it is to monitor the progress of departments in the
     development and implementation of their strategies.

 •   Authorize the Auditor General to forward petitions from the public on
     environmental matters to responsible Ministers and require the
     responsible Ministers to respond to the petitions within 120 days.

 •   Ensure that environmental considerations, in the context of sustainable
     development, are taken into account in the Auditor General’s report to
     the House of Commons.

                  Read about what others are doing in Canada World View on-

To find out what others are doing about SD, read these case studies from
the World Business Council for Sustainable Development: http://www.

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What Can We Do?

How can I live a greener life?
The following sections will help to increase your environmental awareness
and provide you with tips on how you can live a ‘greener’ life.

Use energy efficiently                             Take the One Tonne Challenge!
Why is it important to use energy        
efficiently?                                       english/index.asp

        Energy is essential to our way of life, yet energy
        production and consumption have significant
        environmental implications.
        Many sources of energy are derived from non-renewable
        Energy processes contribute to a number of
        environmental problems: carbon dioxide = global climate change;
        methane = smog; nitrogen oxides = acid rain.
        Energy conservation can help reduce health and environmental
                                                          EnerGuides are the official Government
What can you do to conserve energy?                       of Canada mark associated with the
                                                          labelling    and    rating    of   energy
Suggested Answers: Efficient Energy                       consumption and efficiency. They are
                                                          produced for household appliances,
Use                                                       heating and ventilation equipment, air
     Change your energy consumption                       conditioners,    house     and   vehicles.
     habits by using equipment only                       EnerGuides give you an energy rating in
                                                          kilowatt-hours per year of normal use and
     when necessary and turning
                                                          will show how an appliance’s energy
     equipment off when not in use.                       efficiency compares to the most and least
     Purchase energy efficient                            efficient models of the same type sold in
     alternatives: use fluorescent light                  Canada.
     bulbs over the conventional
     incandescent bulb, consult EnerGuides for ratings, and consider
     alternative fuels for your vehicle.
     Adjust your thermostat at the end of the day and on weekends. Turn
     it down at night. (In a climate that requires heating, setting back

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        thermostats 5 degrees Celsius at night can save between 7% and 10%
        in annual energy use.)
        Use drapes or shutters to help control indoor temperatures.
        Use the minimum amount of lighting required to perform tasks
        effectively and safely.
        Walk, cycle or use public transportation wherever possible.
        Ensure lights are turned off when not in use. (This can produce energy
        savings of 15%-50%).
        Maintain equipment regularly.
        Install lighting control systems, motion sensors and timers.
        Follow manufacturer’s instructions on the use and servicing of
        Close doors and windows (it takes a lot of energy to heat or cool a
        room).                              Source: Foreign Affairs Canada Environmental Awareness Fact Sheets,

    Did you know?
    Fluorescent light bulbs use 60-80% less energy and last 10-20 times longer than
    conventional incandescent bulbs. **

Drive green
Why is green driving important?

        Each year, every car pumps over four tonnes of
        pollutants into our environment.
        Many of the pollutants from cars are toxic to the environment and
        human health.
        Cars are the single largest source of greenhouse gases.
        Car emissions contribute to a number of environmental problems:
        carbon dioxide = global climate change; volatile organic compounds =
        smog; nitrogen oxides = acid rain.
        Smog can irritate your eyes, nose and throat; it causes asthma
        attacks, bronchitis, coughing and chest pain.
        Smog contributes to acid rain; it damages crops, trees and other
How can you practice green driving to reduce health and environmental

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Suggested Answers: Green Driving
     Change your driving habits by avoiding unnecessary idling when driving,
     car pooling with friends and co-workers, and walking, cycling or using
     public transit wherever possible.
     Plan routes to include all stops, rather than making separate single-
     purpose trips. (Short trips can increase fuel consumption by 20-50%.)
     Maintain moderate speeds to reduce fuel consumption.
     Accelerate and decelerate gradually; drive at a steady speed.
     Remove excess weight from vehicles.
     Maintain your vehicle. (Front wheels aligned and tires properly
     Consider using alternative fuels. (Electricity, ethanol, methanol,
     natural gas, propane, hydrogen are the most popular.)

                                                          Source: Foreign Affairs Canada Environmental Awareness Fact Sheets,

     Did you know…
     … fuel consumption increases by 50% with a poorly tuned engine?
     … fuel consumption increases by 10% with improperly inflated tires?
     … fuel consumption increases by 20% with air conditioner use in stop-and-go
     … fuel consumption increases by 20% with driving speeds of 100km/h instead of
     … idling your car for 10 seconds uses more fuel than restarting your engine?
     … fuel consumption increases by 50% with ‘flooring’ your gas pedal from a dead
     stop (‘jackrabbit start’)? **

Reduce use of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODSs)
Why should we be concerned with ODSs?

        The ozone layer is a concentration of ozone molecules in the earth’s
        stratosphere that filters the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
        An ODS is a chemical compound that is sufficiently stable to reach
        the stratosphere and is capable of reacting with the stratospheric
        ozone, leading to ozone depletion.
        Some ODSs occur naturally in the environment (for example, chlorine
        from volcanoes); however, most are man-made and more damaging than
        those that occur naturally.

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        Some common sources of ODSs are: refrigerants
        (chlorofluorocarbons), solvents for cleaning foam blowing agents,
        aerosol solvents and propellants, fire extinguishers, and pesticides.
        A depleted ozone layer allows more radiation to reach the surface of
        the earth.
        Over exposure to UV rays can lead to skin cancer, cataracts and
        weakened immune systems.
        Increased UV rays can lead to reduced crop yields.

What can you do to reduce ODSs?

Suggested Answers: Reducing ODSs

        Have your car’s air conditioner system serviced on a regular basis.
        Ask if refrigerants from your vehicle will be recovered and recycled
        during servicing.
        Have all leaks in the AC system repaired as soon as possible.
        Ask about converting your car to a substitute refrigerant if the AC
        system needs major repair.
        Repair AC systems as soon as possible (make certain the refrigerant is
        recovered before servicing).
        If you purchase a new AC system or heat pump, purchase one that
        uses non-ozone-depleting refrigerant.
        Help start a refrigerant recovery and recycling program in your area
        if none exists.

Reduce, reuse, recycle
Why is managing solid waste important?

        Approximately 2 kgs of solid waste (including paper, food,
        plastics, etc.) is generated daily by an average individual.
        Solid waste creates an enormous stress on the
        Solid waste requires land for disposal, clogs landfill sites, can pollute
        surrounding soil and contaminate the local water supplies.
        Landfills are a contributor of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide
        and methane which contribute to global climate change.

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        Solid waste management can help reduce health and environment

What can you do to manage solid waste in order to reduce health and
environmental impacts?

Suggested Answers: Managing Solid Waste
     Adopt techniques to produce less waste such as: reduce, reuse, and
     Recycle paper, clear and coloured glass, mixed plastics and cans.
     Produce only double-sided documents and photocopy only when
     Use e-mail or a fax modem.
     Edit documents on screen rather than printing unnecessary draft
     Use personal reusable mugs.
     Utilize all materials to the end of their lifecycle.
     Compost any organic waste.
     Share your expertise – raise environmental awareness about solid
     waste management.
                                                          Source: Foreign Affairs Canada Environmental Awareness Fact Sheets,

Use Water Wisely
Why is it important to use water wisely?

        Water is a precious resource.
        In many areas of the world, the supply of clean water is
        In many areas, water is extremely polluted and is either unsuitable for
        human, animal and industrial use, or usable only at a relatively high
        cost of treatment.
        Population growth, rising pollution and global warming are continuing to
        shrink the usable supply.
        Using water efficiently cuts down on the need for water treatment
        and waste water discharges.

What can you do to use water more efficiently?

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Suggested Answers: Water
     Be conscious of the amount of water you use and look for ways to use
     Use only what is needed; do not run water unnecessarily.
     Do not leave taps dripping; always close them tightly after use.
     Use a bucket and sponge to wash vehicles, not a running hose.
     Collect rainwater from barrels for watering of flower gardens.
     Redirect water from eaves troughs onto the lawn.
     Minimize lawn watering; water only in the evening or at night.
     Adapt or replace water-inefficient fixtures and appliances with
     water-saving devices. (Low flow showerheads use 60% less water.)
     Replace grass with local ground covers and flowers that require little
     upkeep and are drought-resistant.
     Check toilets, pipes and faucets for leaks and repair immediately.
     (One drop wasted per second wastes 10,000 litres per year.)

                                                           Source: Foreign Affairs Canada Environmental Awareness Fact Sheet,

Help Educate
Why is it important for organizations to provide education
and training about environmental issues?

        Human behaviour lies at the root of many of the
        environmental problems we face today.
        The success of the greening process in any
        organization will depend entirely on staff cooperation in implementing
        proposed environmental practices.
        An effective education and training program increases awareness of
        environmental issues, encourages participation in green activities, and
        explains the reasons and benefits for taking action that are critical to
        the ongoing success of the greening process.

What can you do to assist in educating and training colleagues in your

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Suggested Answers: Education and Training
     Volunteer to assist in implementing a best practices program.
     Submit suggestions on how to green your organization.
     Demonstrate what can and cannot be reused or recycled.
     Find ways to cooperate with the local community in environment
     awareness projects.

In December 2002, under the leadership of Japan and 40 other nations,
UNESCO designated the decade of 2005-2015 as the Decade of Education
for Sustainable Development:

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Sustainable Development Quiz

Decide whether the following statements are true or false. Then, check
your answers on the next page!

1. Sustainable development is primarily an issue of investment in developing


2. Sustainable development is synonymous with conservation of the


3. The World Commission on Environment and Development is also known as
the Kyoto Summit.


4. An objective of sustainable development is ending the use of non-
renewable resources.


5. Sustainable development can be defined as ‘meeting the needs of the
present and helping to reconcile development with environmental protection’.


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Suggested Answers:

1. False. Sustainable development is much more far-reaching. SD concepts
are certainly applicable to how we approach the challenges of third-world
development. But they are also applicable to the negotiation of fisheries
agreements, to Canada’s trade arrangements with developed and developing
nations, and much more. SD is a commitment to conserve and manage
resources whatever the context.

2. False. Environmental management and conservation are important
dimensions of sustainable development, but they aren’t the whole story.
Sustainable development encompasses quality of life issues, integrated
decision making and equity.

3. False. It’s known as the Brundtland Commission.

4. False. The role of non-renewable resources in a sustainable development
strategy can be assured by sound policies which encourage efficient
extraction and manufacturing processes and uses, as well as by policies and
programs which stimulate, where appropriate, recycling or the development
of substitutes.

5. False. Sustainable development ‘meets the needs of the present without
compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’

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References & Resources

Did you Know: * Source: Millenium Development goals: A compact among nations to end
human poverty, Human Development Report 2003, UNDP, Retrieved from:

Did you Know: ** Source: Foreign Affairs Canada Environmental Awareness Fact Sheets: environman/system/emp/miscklst/area04-en.asp

Use the IISD Dashboard of Sustainability to review the current health of
the planet:

Check out this Sustainable Living Guide from Planet Friendly:

Try these e-learning modules, “Sustainable Business Challenge” and “The
Global Scenario Challenge,” from the World Business Council for Sustainable
WBCSD4/layout.asp?type=p&MenuId=NjU# (look on right menu bar).

Take a look at the Thinking Like a Sustainable Community Workbook from
the Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance (.pdf format):

See what's happening in your neighbourhood. Check out this Calendar of SD

Take the Good Stuff Quiz:
goodstuff/quiz/ to test your eco-IQ when it comes to buying and using
environmentally friendly products and then check out the Good Stuff Guide,
A Behind the Scenes Guide to the Things We Buy, which contains the tips,
facts, and links you'll need to start making more informed purchases that
benefit your health and the environment.

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Case Studies from the World Business Council on Sustainable Development:

Envirolink is a compilation of comprehensive, up-to-date environmental
resources available on the Web. Its many links encompass almost all topics
related to the environment field.

The Environmental Organization Web Directory – environmental search

Canada's Sustainable Development Agenda 2006. http://www.dfait-

Green Lane is a product of Environment Canada that provides information
about the EPA. There is also a State of Canada's Environmental Infobase
that contains a search function and environmental fact sheets.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency Website contains
information on Canada's Sustainable Development Strategy 2004-2006,
legislation and regulations, and instruction on how to do an environmental

Canada's Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation Website
provides information on the Kyoto Protocol. http://www.dfait-

Foreign Affairs Canada Sustainable Development Website. http://www.

Government of Canada Climate Change Website.

Industry Canada Website provides an interactive opportunity to learn about
the Sustainable Cities Initiative.

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Natural Resources Canada Website provides links to other energy sector

Natural Resource Canada Sustainable Development Website. http://www.

Environment Canada's EMS Info on Energy

Natural Resources Canada Office of Energy Efficiency Programs

The Earth Charter Initiative

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) Website
contains many documents regarding Sustainable Development and an
environmental impact database.

The World Conservation Union ( IUCN) Website is divided into categories
for information, people, places and themes related to the organization's

The World Bank Sustainable Development Website contains environmental
information, documentation, and publications. It also describes
environmental programs and includes many relevant links. http://www.

United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs Division for
Sustainable Development Website has information, documents and
publications relating to sustainable development issues. http://www.

Sierra Club. Sierra Club's homepage contains links to numerous magazines,
newsletters, articles and addresses topics such as global warming,
environmental education, and various policies. It contains many links to other
internet resources.

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WWW Virtual Library - Sustainable Development. Maintained by the
Université Libre de Bruxelles, this site contains a list of links to
organizations, projects/activities, up-coming events, libraries,
documents/references, electronic journals, databases, and other relevant

The Directory of Environmental Resources on the Internet contains an
extensive number of listings and links to various environmental resources on
the Internet such as seminars, courses, education resources such as
libraries and reports, consultants and services, links to a handful of
environmental sites, and links to legislative information.

World Business Council for Sustainable Development

Sustainable Development International

Centre for International Sustainable Development Law

The OECD- Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
Website contains useful information about sustainable development and
international development assistance. There is a search function on the site
that will display several documents regarding environmental assessment as
well as an "environmental issues" section under "Activities" that includes a
long list of information on various environmental topics. http://www.oecd.

The U.S. National Institute for the Environment (NIE) Website includes the
National Library for the Environment, containing congressional research
service reports.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Website contains
information about environmental policies and procedures. http://www.

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Plain Language Version of Agenda 21:

Created by the Sustainable Development Communications Network, this
Introduction to Sustainable Development provides a quick overview of what
sustainable development is and why it is important. The site contains a
timeline of sustainable development history, background material on the
most important aspects of the concept, and suggestions for further

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency . This is an excellent site in which to
find current environmental information. New sites are posted every few

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