Report Points the Way Towards Sustainable California

Published: December 2001
Authors: Andrea Sumits, Jason Morrison

With a growing population and a shrinking pool of natural resources, California is faced with a quandary: How can the state manage its resources, protect the environment and ensure equitable development? A broad consensus is emerging that business as usual won’t suffice. A new report from the Pacific Institute, “Creating a Framework for Sustainability in California: Lessons Learned from the New Zealand Experience” by Andrea Sumits and Jason Morrison, looks to New Zealand to provide innovative ideas for California’s future.

The report details New Zealand’s attempt to integrate environmental protection and resource management with a “goals-based” policy framework. In particular, the report looks at key principles and strategies that may be of interest to California, and the United States, including:

· The three “E’s” of sustainability
· The three “E’s” of sustainability: Equity, Economy, and the Environment
· Integrated management of environmental media
· Decentralization – state vs. local control
· Public participation – the inclusion of stakeholders
· Flexibility – an “effects-based” approach
· Accountability – transparency of governmental decision-making

Funded by a broad range of interests from government, the environmental community, and the private sector, the report evaluates the process by which the New Zealand Resource Management Act (RMA) was established and implemented, and makes specific recommendations for how certain elements of the RMA could be considered in California’s pursuit of more effective and efficient environmental policies.

Download the report.

Download the Executive Summary.