For over a century, the United States has been the leader in conserving our planet and its resources. It has recognized our precious resources from its beginning. Our nation’s forethought is founded on the fundamental values of preserving our resources. We have that heritage reflected in what Theodore Roosevelt said over a century ago; “To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.” In 1969, the United States created the concept of Sustainability. The U.S. enacted National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) whose purpose was to “foster and promote the general welfare, to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony and fulfill the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.”
In 1987, the Brundtland Commission acknowledged what the U.S. established almost two decades earlier, and modified the precepts around Sustainability Development: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Many today, believe that is the origin of Sustainability, when in reality our American vision and understanding of resources, their value, and future needs originally established those best practices.