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Environmental Decision-making

Consensus, or coming to agreement, is how a group of people can make a choice.  Another way to arrive at a decision is for one person to make the choice.  When it comes to the environment, consensus is difficult to achieve.  The environment is everywhere.  It is complicated.  It affects everyone and every nation.  The complexity and scale of the issues make it difficult to agree on what the problem is, what the solution should be and what action to take, especially on a world-scale where there are many factors that stress differences rather than what people have in common.  Even at the local level, opinions cause conflict.  Certain situations call for group decisions, others are more appropriate for a sole leader to choose or an individual to make personal a personal choice.  This section includes major achievements in consensus and leadership on environmental protection; international treaties, reports and assessments, government legislation – proposed and current, and examples of regional, local and other movements.

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Inclusive Wealth Report 2012 Last Updated on 2013-10-29 21:21:58 The International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP)* announced at the Rio+20 Summit on June 17, 2012. the launch of the Inclusive Wealth Report 2012 (IWR 2012). The report measures the wealth of nations. Download PDF | Read more about the report The report presents a new economic index, which looks beyond the traditional short term economic and development yardsticks of gross domestic product (GDP) and the Human Development Index (HDI). The Inclusive Wealth Index (IWI) assesses changes in a country’s productive base, including produced, human, and natural capital over time. By taking a more holistic approach, the IWI shows governments the true state of their nation’s wealth and the sustainability of its growth. Twenty countries were assessed in the IWR 2012 over a period of 19 years (1990-2008). Together they represent more than half of... More »
National Forest System (NFS) Roadless Area Initiatives Last Updated on 2013-09-30 17:30:22 Roadless areas in the U.S.National Forest System (NFS) have received special attention for decades. Many want to protect their relatively pristine condition; others want to use the areas in more developed ways. Two different roadless area policies have been offered in the last decade. On January 12, 2001, the Clinton Administration’s roadless area policy established a nationwide approach to managing roadless areas in the National Forest System to protect their pristine conditions. The Nationwide Rule, as it will be called in this report, generally prohibited road construction and reconstruction and timber harvesting in 58.5 million acres of inventoried roadless areas, with significant exceptions. The Bush Administration initially postponed the effective date of the Nationwide Rule, then issued its own rule that allowed states to plan how roadless areas were managed. It issued a... More »
Role of science in regulation Last Updated on 2013-09-17 21:56:46 This article, authored by Tim Lougheed[1], appeared first in Environmental Health Perspectives—the peer-reviewed, open access journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The article is a verbatim version of the original and is not available for edits or additions by Encyclopedia of Earth editors or authors. Companion articles on the same topic that are editable may exist within the Encyclopedia of Earth. ] When Rachel Carson took on the task of defining environmental health advocacy in the early 1960s, she made the business of government oversight look simple and straightforward. "Much of the necessary knowledge is now available, but we do not use it," she wrote in her 1962 book Silent Spring. "We train ecologists in our universities and even employ them in our government agencies, but we seldom take their advice. We allow the... More »
A World Environment Organisation? Last Updated on 2013-08-17 12:00:07 Zakri Abdul Hamid, Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia, notes in SciDev.Net on 5 January 2012 that "The proposed UN World Environment Organisation is badly needed to give poor countries a strong voice in green policy". The United Nations will be convening in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, next June to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Earth Summit, held in the same city. The Rio+20 conference will assess progress since 1992 and aim to secure renewed political commitment to sustainable development. One of the priorities is recognising that current governance systems to protect the environment have failed to meet expectations — indeed, the health of our environment has taken a turn for the worse over the past decades. World leaders must recognise that taking the modest and incremental approach they took in Rio, 20 years ago is not enough. Only a major... More »
South Coast Air Quality Management District Last Updated on 2013-08-11 09:47:11 The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), formed in 1976, is the local governmental agency in California which is responsible for regulating stationary sources of air pollution in the area depicted on the adjacent map. That area includes all of Orange county and the urban portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The main office of the SCAQMD is located in the city of Diamond Bar, California.[1] The area encompassed by the SCAQMD amounts to about 10,750 square miles (27,840 square kilometres) and is the second most populated area in the United States. This area has a severe problem with smog and the SCAQMD has been a leader in the nation's efforts to reduce air pollution emissions. The SCAQMD develops, adopts and implements an "Air Quality Management Plan" for bringing the area into compliance with the clean air standards... More »