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"We define environmental stewardship as the responsibility for environmental quality shared by all those whose actions affect the environment. This sense of responsibility is a value that can be reflected through the choices of individuals, companies, communities, and government organizations, and shaped by unique environmental, social, and economic interests. It is also a behavior, one demonstrated through continuous improvement of environmental performance, and a commitment to efficient use of natural resources, protection of ecosystems, and, where applicable, ensuring a baseline of compliance with environmental requirements.

Environmental stewardship is not a new phenomenon. In fact, it has deep and diverse roots in our country. From farming to hunting, from conservation practices to spiritual beliefs, one can find an appreciation for natural resources and the valuable services they provide in many diverse settings. As we explore how to become a more sustainable society, it is clear that environmental stewardship can help preserve natural resources and achieve sustainable outcomes." (Source: EPA, 2005)

As we consider our roles as individuals and community members, it may be helpful to think of six natural resource systems and desired outcomes for each one:

Air: Sustain clean and healthy air
Ecosystems: Protect and restore ecosystems functions, goods, and services
Energy: Generate clean energy and use it efficiently
Land: Support ecologically sensitive land management and development
Materials: Consume less, reduce waste, and shift to environmentally preferable materials
Water: Sustain water resources to ensure quality and availability for desired uses

We must take care not to degrade the resources that we do use, and whenever possible, restore and rehabilitate resources to their natural conditions.

As you decide how you will engage, we challenge you to consider the many types of stewardship, including everyday choices.


The JMU campus community has a long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability. All members of the JMU community are challenged to be environmentally literate, think critically, and act - individually and collectively - as stewards of the natural world.

The following principles guide our individual and institutional actions toward more sustainable practices:

  1. Create an institutional culture of sustainability.
  2. Foster interdisciplinary research, education, and literacy in sustainability.
  3. Build sustainable community through partnerships, service, and outreach.
  4. Conserve and steward natural resources, including minimizing material impacts and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


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