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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Food Security Last Updated on 2014-09-24 23:01:45 A comprehensive definition of food security that is widely accepted today is that “food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life"1. It follows from this definition that individuals and families who are not food-secure are likely to be hungry, undernourished or malnourished, poor, and living in places that are distant from well-stocked and functional food markets. These characteristics can often be observed directly or assessed through household survey methods. While measures of nutritional status such as low height for age or low weight for height, average availability of food translated into calories available/day, per capita incomes, or distance from a market do not fully define food security, observations or... More »
Technological Nightmares (Lecture): Note on the ‚ÄúPrecautionary Principle‚ÄĚ Last Updated on 2014-07-01 15:53:44       Series: Pardee Center Distinguished Lecture Series Date: October 2003 Location: Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, Boston University, Boston, MA There are two points of view when we face risk and uncertainties in our research. One is based on the precautionary principle. The precautionary principle says that when there is any risk of a major disaster, no action should be permitted that increases the risk. If, as so often happens, an action promises to bring substantial benefits together with some risk of a major disaster, no balancing of benefits against risks is to be allowed. Any action carrying a risk of a major disaster must be prohibited, regardless of the costs of prohibition. The opposing point of view holds that risks are unavoidable, that no possible course of action or inaction will eliminate risks, and that a... More »
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