A Triple Bottom Line Perspective
Dear SBN Community,
Whether you participated in the March for Science, visited the official opening of Bartram’s Mile, went to a Rain Check workshop, or supported one of the many clean-up and beautification projects around Philadelphia, we here at SBN hope you had a wonderful Earth Day.
Earth Day is an opportunity to pause from our daily distractions and consider our indelible link to the natural world and all the life that surrounds us.
It’s also easily taken for granted.
One does not have to travel very far into our nation’s past to experience a time in our country where we did not observe Earth Day: before 1970, there was no Earth Day. Further, without the groundswell of support — around 20 million Americans who participated in the first Earth Day celebration — who knows how long we would have waited to enjoy the auspices of the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Endangered Species Acts.
As much as we want ecological protection to be an innate and an assumed element of public policy, this is not so. Critical environmentally-protective pieces of legislation were passed because dedicated communities from all political perspectives came together to educate, protest, and communicate that the health of our communities relies on the health of our natural resources.
Community health and well-being, ecological health, and economic health are inextricably linked. One cannot exist without the others. The SBN community demonstrate that businesses can build profitable enterprises and consider their environmental and social impact.
To build on our success, we’ll continue to advocate for policies that incorporate and incentivize a triple-bottom line: people, planet, and profit. Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters plan is one clear example of the positive impact that innovative policy can have on our environment and in our communities. Investments in green stormwater infrastructure (a nature-based approach to stormwater management) are growing local businesses and transforming schools, parks and recreation sites, streetscapes, and a variety of public and private spaces. In doing so, our economy is growing, our air quality is improving, and our communities are enjoying new active and passive recreation opportunities.
On May 11, at SBN’s 2017 Excellence in GSI Awards Ceremony, we will gather as a community to recognize the innovative projects, and public and private partners, that are bringing these triple bottom line benefits to the region. Please join us at the awards ceremony or any of the events on our calendar so that we can continue to celebrate our work together.
We are confident that this successful strategy is not limited to stormwater management. New policies informed by a triple-bottom line philosophy, be they around energy, waste, or sustainable procurement, will reinforce the link between the health of our economy, our communities, and the natural environment.
Anna Shipp, Executive Director