When planners, engineers, designers, economists, politicians and scientists look to the future and what it will bring us, environmental protection historically has been at the bottom of the list.  With twenty first century advances and technology comes problems stemming from neglect of the natural environment and the systems that we rely so heavily on.

When we look at environmental protection the theme of “the tragedy of the commons: arises.  imagine a village field where anyone can graze his animals for free.  Ultimately the commons here being the field are destroyed because of its overuse.  If we blow up this analogy to a greater scale we would see that atmosphere and the worlds oceans as the commons.  We see that the organizations that commits the environmental damage either faces a fraction of the cost of damages or faces no costs at all.  Acting out of self interest mainly for profits results in the over use of certain resources we take for granted.

This tradition can go on no further and measures must be taken to insure a better, more sustainable tomorrow.  Planners are adopting LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental design) practices for new development projects.  It is a rating system devised by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) to evaluate the environmental performance of a building and encourage market transformation towards sustainable design.  I personally like this a lot because of its point calculating method. Imagine getting a scorecard or a grade for that matter based on your proposed development. 

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New Jersey has adopted these practices more and more over the years and has the capacity to become a leader across the United States when it comes to more sustainable design.    LEED As New Jersey’s leading authoritative resource for environmental, economic and high-performance elements of sustainable green buildings and communities, USGBC-NJ is proud to be home to so many LEED projects. As of March 2015, New Jersey has nearly 430 LEED certified projects and almost 1,500 LEED registered projects on tap. There are also over 2,500 certified LEED For Homes right here in NJ.

Implementing these practices as standard will assure that the future of how our communities are built will coincide with our values for protecting the natural world.  Adopting these methods are not enough to solve the problems society is facing with global climate change but, it does provide a massive stepping stone in the right direction for how ready New Jersey will be facing these problems.

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