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Rebuilding the Unity of Health and the Environment: The Greater Houston Metropolitan Area - Workshop Summary
INVOLVING INDUSTRY IN THE SOLUTION
As environmental awareness grows and spreads, it is only a matter of time before those who have traditionally been the direct cause of environmental problems begin to conduct business in ways that are not only safer but also more economically efficient. Thus, industry in general—and the chemical industry in particular—has been adopting responsible programs aimed at curtailing pollutant emissions and supporting and employing environmentally sound practices. Companies have been emphasizing their membership in the community, and they are following through, collaboratively, as responsible neighbors. Also, while acknowledging that complete transformation can not be achieved overnight, they do claim to be committed for the “long haul.”
Environmental consciousness within the Houston business community is being stimulated in large part by the area’s residents and their leaders. No longer preoccupied with economic insecurity or personal safety, they may now attend to quality-of-life issues and the physical attractions of the city—assets that will add to the desirability of coming to and staying in Houston, thereby making its future economic viability more likely.
These priorities result mainly from the fact that the area’s primary source of wealth now is knowledge rather than natural resources. Suddenly, or so it seems, factors such as air quality, revitalization of the city’s downtown, and richness of hiking and boating areas have become critical.
Environmental health issues can be creatively addressed when stakeholders listen to each other and work together noted some participants. The mindsets of many of the region’s people and institutions have changed, as have their prospects for a more healthful and vital community.