Land use

All land use polices, plans, and practices should be based on sustainable development and production; the reduce-reuse-recycle ethic; the encouragement of a balance between optimum and diverse use of land, recognizing the natural character of the land (for example, fertile soil, wetland, aquifer recharge area, and critical habitat); the intrinsic value of Nature in and of itself, independent of any worth to humanity; and the assurance of social justice in the formation and implementation of land use policy.

We believe that planning and implementation of land use policy at all levels-local, regional, and multiregional-should occur through democratic, participatory public processes.


We encourage the social ownership and use of land at the community, local, and regional level, particularly in the form of community and conservation land trusts, under covenants of ecological responsibility. We affirm the practice of individuals to hold title to land under covenants of ecological responsibility.

The wealth in land created by the community should be retained for the support of the community, while recognizing the legitimate right of individuals to retain the wealth in land created by direct labor investment.

We believe in strongly discouraging and eventually eliminating land speculation (that is, the purchase of land to sell in the future for profit at the expense of the community or the environment).

We need to develop a land use policy that addresses and recognizes the diversity of human needs within individual locales (that is, the need for places for living, working, recreating, worshipping, shopping, and enjoying natural areas and open spaces). Such a policy needs to acknowledge the diversity of human needs for commodities such as housing, and to accommodate them within planned policy. New development must be limited to that required to provide for vital human needs.


Human habitats must be designed or redesigned so that they are built with energy efficiency in mind, on a human scale, with integrated land uses. Such integrated land uses should provide, for example, ready access between home and work, a local supply of food, ready access to natural areas, and a de-emphasis on individualized motorized transport. Human habitats should be connected to each other by a system of ecologically responsible mass transit.

Land and community development should encourage less alienating styles of architecture that are compatible with human, social, and environmental values.

We need to assure nondestructive public access to special public and private recreational and appropriate ecological sites and areas, such as coastal areas and selected wilderness areas.

Control and planning

We must encourage and facilitate responsible and responsive bioregional control of land use policy, with a guiding principle of "think globally, act locally." Such local control should result in appropriately optimal and diverse land use relationships, where, for example, unique ecological and productive lands were not used for incompatible purposes.

We acknowledge the need for continuous multilocal (that is, regional) and multiregional coordination in the planning and implementation of land use policy.

We must preserve pristine wilderness areas, and return nearly pristine areas to their original state, while continuing to allow nondestructive public access (for hiking, for example).

A particular land use activity should not adversely affect adjacent land (for example, mining operations cannot be allowed to cause water pollution, and timber cutting cannot be allowed to cause soil erosion). The regional long-term environmental and social impacts of any resource extractions should be minimized, and the land restored to a healthy ecological state. We need to assign priorities for the immediate restoration of existing lands that were adversely affected by corporate and community activity in the past.

We must promote the preservation and extension of wildlife habitat and biological diversity by creating and preserving large continuous tracts of open space (complete ecosystems), so as to permit healthy, self-managing wildlife populations to exist in a natural state. (See also Biological Diversity and Animal Liberation section.)