SAFE AND HEALTHY COMMUNITIES

One of the primary things that draws people to our region is the opportunity be outdoors year-round. Whether for work or for play, people value a clean, safe environment where health threats and environmental risks are reduced and where quality of life is high. Creating and maintaining healthy communities begins with collaboration among community leaders to support community-based projects that remediate environmental health and quality of life issues and to build capacity to understand and solve complex environmental and human health problems.

THE IRLNEP CORNERSTONES

Like all NEPs, the IRLNEP has 4 cornerstones, which are focusing on the watershed, integrating science into the decision-making process, fostering collaborative problem solving, and involving the public in consensus-building and decision-making. The IRLNEP supports the following areas focused on healthy, vibrant and livable communities:

  • Improving and Protecting Environmental Quality

  • Protecting and Enhancing Economic Value

  • Climate Preparedness and Resilience

  • Green Buildings and Green Infrastructure

AREAS OF FOCUS

FLORIDA’S POPULATION CONTINUES TO GROW AT AN ACCELERATED RATE

By 2025, 75% of Americans will live within 50 miles of a coast. Upwards of 1,000 new people move to Florida permanently each day. Managing this growth wisely is very important.

MANAGING GROWTH WISELY

Many Floridians have come here from other places. They come for the clean water, world-class fishing and boating, and other community amenities that make living in Florida so attractive. Many of these people want to live near or on the water and take part in the many unsurpassed recreational opportunities the lagoon offers. Because Florida is such an attractive place to work and play, growth and development are inevitable. However, growth and environmental stewardship do not have to be exclusive of one another. Communities in many regions of the country are learning that integrating development and environmental sustainability makes good economic sense. Done well, growth can continue to be a major economic driver without sacrificing the environment.

SMART GROWTH

Smart Growth conserves resources by redeveloping already built upon land and reinvesting in existing infrastructure. It highlights community amenities by designing neighborhoods that have homes within walking distance of shops, offices, schools and parks, and gives residents the option of walking, cycling, or driving as they conduct their daily business. Smart Growth neighborhoods offer a range of housing types, making these neighborhoods attractive to people of all ages and income levels. The high quality of life in Smart Growth neighborhoods makes these communities economically competitive, creates a wealth of business opportunities and strengthens the local tax base.

close up of plant stem growing and a city behind

SMART GROWTH DEVELOPMENT PRACTICES PROTECT OUR FUTURES

They help minimize air and water pollution, reduce greenhouse gases, preserve natural lands by encouraging compact development, as well as safeguarding environmentally sensitive areas.

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. Embracing environmental justice means realizing that no group of people should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, governmental and commercial operations or policies. It also means that communities become committed to seeking out and facilitating the involvement of traditionally underserved communities to bring them into decision-making processes, as full participants when decisions are made that will impact public health and the environment in the community.