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Report: Building a Sustainable and Resilient Future for California

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Building a Sustainable and Resilient Future for California

Sustainability has been defined by several governmental and nongovernmental agencies over time, though the most often cited definition comes from the United Nations Brundtland Commission in 1987: sustainability entails “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”This definition captures the scope of sustainability as outlined in this report, which discusses the challenges California faces to preserve natural resources amidst a changing climate, reduce emissions from pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and ensure an inclusive, equitable, and healthy future for all Californians. Resiliency is different from sustainability and complementary to it. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines resilience as “a capability to anticipate, prepare for, respond to and recover from significant multi-hazard threats with minimum damage to social well-being, the economy and the environment.”

While much of this report focuses on the environmental factors that contribute to long-term sustainability and resiliency, these two concepts extend to encompass economic and social considerations. If California is to achieve a sustainable and resilient future, it must ensure that the needs of all residents are addressed.