Foreword

The natural environment is the physical basis on which all life depends. Without it, the enterprise of human civilization cannot endure, and all forms of life are ultimately at risk. We are the stewards of this environment, held in trust for our children and future generations.

The concept of sustainability teaches us that a healthy natural environment can co-exist with a well-designed economy. Sustainability and its promise sparked the creation of the Silicon Valley Environmental Indicators Project.

Our sophisticated environmental protection laws have resulted in significant -- though uneven -- progress in protecting the natural environment. But much work remains to be done. This indicators report aims to document the progress that Silicon Valley has made toward restoring a healthy natural environment, and charting those areas where declines in our natural environment must be reversed if we are to achieve a sustainable community. In this way, we can identify and prioritize the actions we can each take -- as citizens, public agencies, and corporate organizations -- to reverse environmental decline and ultimately bring about environmental restoration.

The "environmental indicators" in this report are simply ways of displaying the direction in which a given environmental condition, such as water use or air quality, in the Silicon Valley is currently heading. This report shows that some of these indicators are improving, while others are in decline.

This report can be a tool for better understanding the quality of our environment and tracking changes over time. We hope that this brief report will encourage policy makers, citizens, and businesses to take action to improve the quality of our environment. Our children and grandchildren deserve no less.

Signed:

Pete McHugh
Chair, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors

Lew E. Platt
Chairman of the Board, Hewlett-Packard Company

Peter Melhus
Board Chairman, Silicon Valley Environmental Partnership

Ted Smith
Executive Director, Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition

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