The following HTML text is provided to enhance online
readability. Many aspects of typography translate only awkwardly to HTML.
Please use the page image
as the authoritative form to ensure accuracy.
Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals
have come a long way in a couple of years. The Council did have some folks who were critical of the way it got started and of the slowness of the starting, but those of you who have worked with a diverse group composed of 25 people with adversarial viewpoints, in many cases, hopefully can well understand that much of our first six months was taken up with forming relationships and looking at developing a vision statement and actually a definition of sustainability.
We wound up starting with the definition of the Brundtland commission, which was, "To meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs, as well." Our vision was, "To look for a life-sustaining Earth with peace and dignity and equity for all persons, and the opportunity to have a healthy and safe environment. To live the quality of life that we ourselves would like to live, and to maintain the viability of our natural resource base." Simple visions. Simple statements that you heard from many of the speakers here this morning and that we heard from people all over the country.
We attempted to go outside the 25-member Council by engaging persons outside the Beltway, outside government—and real people who live in communities so that we could get a diversity of information and a diversity of viewpoints for the Council—so that we could provide some outreach and so that we could expand the view of the Council, as well as provide for that kind of, if you will, nebulous thing called "public input." We did this through putting together about eight different task force groups, some of which involved Energy and Transportation. I was on the Energy and Transportation task force. I was the co-lead on the Public Linkage and Dialogue task force, which was to engage grassroots groups and other persons around the country. We also had a Natural Resources task force looking at various issues. Ecosystem task forces looked at industrial processes and product stewardship and the like.
The task force was reaching into the general populace of the American public to attempt to get a broader viewpoint. We had put out our principles and vision statements in the summer of last year, and right now, we are putting out our goals. So if you would please pick them up and, if you cannot comment today, please send comments to us later. We certainly need to hear from as many persons as possible—and certainly those of you who are members of the National Academy of Sciences, those of you who work on the committees, it is important for us to hear from you. I don't need to go into a lot of discussion because much of what has already been said by the speakers are points of contention during the Council's discussions during the Council's debates.
Our meetings were in public forums. We also had separate committee meetings, retreats, to talk about principles and goals and where we wanted to go for the future. Some of these are controversial issues, and I think it's important for to you know this because these issues are now in the public debate. And there are some really, I believe, hostile discussions going on between both extremes, sometimes not too much in the middle. And I think it behooves all of us to understand what those issues are and to see if we cannot come to some middle ground.