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The economic prosperity and well-being of modern societies is threatened by a number of interrelated megatrends, including population growth, climate change, resource depletion, urban infrastructure decline, and increase in extreme weather events. It is urgent that government and business recognize and accept these threats and work together to meet the challenges they pose. Without that, efforts to enhance economic growth, protect human health and achieve a resilient and sustainable society will never be successful. This paper summarizes the linkages among these megatrends, especially related to food, energy, and water production. Overcoming these problems requires supplementing existing environmental legislation through application of key technologies and enhancement of stakeholder engagement and collaboration. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a key player in the application of science and technology, and in building partnerships to work with states, cities, and local communities to effectively develop and apply science and technology to protect human health and the environment. Working alongside the business world, EPA activities are also critical to enhancing economic growth and building a resilient and sustainable economy. Since its establishment, the Agency’s role has evolved from regulator to innovator. As the Agency turns 50 in 2020, it will continue to enhance society and be an “Economic Productivity Advocate” as much as an “Environmental Protection Agency.”
Keywords: Megatrends, resilience, sustainability, system thinking.
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