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The 1983 United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development was the first time that the notion of sustainable development was first formally defined. In the Commission’s report, known as the Bruntland Report, sustainable development was defined as,
“Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
What this means in practice, is that all development must be assessed to evaluate any adverse impacts it may have on the environment, society, culture or economy in which it is proposed. If negative impacts are expected the project should either be rejected or modified to minimize harm.
The development of humanity has reached a point where we can have devastating effects on the world around us, including both the natural environment and the social one. The sheer size of the population means that small actions taken at an individual level can have a profound effect when multiplied across municipalities, countries and around the world, The principal of sustainable development is really an expression of the responsibility of every person to try to leave the earth in as good a state, or better, for future generations to thrive and enjoy.
The County of Frontenac has taken a leadership role in promoting sustainability in the area. The County has been very busy in connecting and listening to residents and incorporating their views into a vision for sustainable development called Directions for Our Future. This vision has guided us in educating the public, providing supports to community groups and facilitating change throughout the County of Frontenac.
The power of individuals lies in two primary areas; 1) in the choices we make and 2) in the actions we take. What we choose to purchase locally and source our groceries from local farms we are improving sustainability. When we choose to select products with less plastic packaging, we are acting sustainably. When we share a ride with someone, we are not only reducing carbon emissions but also strengthening our social connections.
Beyond these daily decisions, being active in our community by participating in events and by volunteering, we help make the place we live better for everyone. Active and engaged citizens create stronger bonds, have more connections and a greater sense of belonging.