Entering this new millennium, we can choose to see the proverbial glass as half full or half empty. The optimist says the glass is half full, while the pessimist insists that the glass is half empty. Our outlook on life is largely affected by our frame of reference—and, oftentimes, our frame of mind. We can choose to see a world of possibilities or a world of problems.
We at the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources hope you will join with us as we explore and celebrate the reasons for nurturing a sense of hope and optimism. Although there are environmental problems of crisis proportions all around the planet, there are also signs of a growing awareness and commitment that bode well for our personal and collective attempts to live more sustainably and more harmoniously with one another and with our surroundings.

There is reason to be guardedly optimistic about the future of Vermont’s environment—and that reason lies in the resiliency of the state’s ecosystems, its communities, and its people. With Environment 2000 we again offer environmental indicators meant to provide insight into the quality of Vermont’s environment. In reporting these indicators we hope to emphasize the importance of entering the new millennium with a sense of environmental optimism. This will not be a blind optimism, but one that recognizes that good science, not sentiment, is the best tool for safeguarding the environment. It will be an optimism based on the belief that an accurate understanding of the condition of Vermont’s environment will serve us better than expressions of panic or denial. And our sense of optimism will be bolstered by recognizing that preventing problems before they arise is the best form of environmental stewardship.