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Human existence is indispensably related closely with the nature. Because, there are direct or indirect interactions between human and its environment. Human activities are mainly about concerning their common needs and any further specific life requirement. Fortunes are on their hands, because majority of the materials they need can be discovered in many ways on earth, and that is why interaction of both parties is inevitable. It is clear that there are causal impacts that involved within the ecosystem. Generally, human as the creature who has needs and desires, have intention to take advantages from nature and its environment, in any good or bad term. But, unfortunately there are some indications that human over enforcing their greed. The desire of fulfilling needs somehow able to give reverse impact. Some are malicious and not beneficial at all. As time goes by, the nature gives some concrete unpleasant feedback. Controllable or not, there are some disasters that come over. However, some undesirable effects somehow caused by the human itself, it is the result of reckless human who do not seek any bad possibilities coming in the future if they don’t being responsible to the mother nature. That is why; environmental management is severely needed, and should be one of the considerations in any action when generating interaction with environment.
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In every business, there are so many aspects to be concerned about. There may be a huge consideration of its own product development aspects, human and capital management, customer relationship or even market research and strategy. However, sometimes there’s a little crack that overlooked, this crack in time can be a very crucial and destructive intervention. A kind of crack that mostly forgotten is about environmental management. Yes, I do agree that human is the ruler of this world. This lovely mother nature is completely in human hands. They are a very intelligent yet powerful creature on earth, they’ve got the brain and intuition. But the greed is the biggest human flaw, they easily forgotten about possibilities they may cause in their activities. In big or even small scale of business, nothing can be an exception for this issue.
First of all let’s take a look for a small and simple example, culinary and food business. People may not consider this, because this is a very common thing that used to happen in daily life. Some food business has their own way to pack their food. The packaging they use to wrap food should be a thing to reconsider. Because, after consumer eat the food inside, the packaging is no longer needed and just easily thrown away, and instantly become a garbage. And what kind of garbage it is, is important to be noticed. It’s okay if they use paper wrapper, because it is still can be recycled and even better if they use recycled paper, because that means they still consider this issue. But unfortunately, how about them who use styrofoam? Hey, it can be the simplest form of eventual earth destruction. Styrofoam is hardly disposed, if buried it can infect the soil. Then imagine how many thousand businesses on earth that did it that way? How many million people who bought their stuff that way? It is a massive motion of earth destruction. Well, that’s only a simple of one kind of businesses. How about other kind of businesses on earth? How about other gazillions trashes and garbage that human make? How irritating to see this mother nature get dirtier each day.
And also there’s another fact. The Environmental Protection Agency reports the United States produces approximately 220 million tons of garbage each year. This is equivalent to burying more than 82,000 football fields six feet deep in compacted garbage. There are no statistics readily available for the entire planet, but considering the United States makes up about 4% of the world’s population, this is a LOT. It could be estimated that the entire planet’s yearly production of garbage to be somewhere in the vicinity of 4 to 5 BILLION tons. Well, that is true, and inevitable that human may cause it, but however there are still some prevention and overcoming methods to solve this problem. It can be in many ways and methods. Year by year human starts to realize the importance of this issue, which is why some methods of saving environment eventually emerged.
Well, those are some short review about environmental management in smaller scale, now let’s take a closer look at environmental management in big scale, which will be described and explained thoroughly after this section. The next review is mainly based on material of study of C.J. Barrow’s book of Environmental Management for Sustainable Development Chapter 1 and 2. This book comprised a very closer look of environmental management that strongly elaborated in multidimensional aspects, which is very interesting and important.
Environmental management is very crucial part oh human aspects that need to be deeply considered. It seeks to steer the development process to take advantage of opportunities, avoid hazards, mitigate problems, and prepare people for unavoidable difficulties by improving adaptability and resilience. It is a process concerned with human-environment interactions, and seeks to identify: what is environmentally desirable; what are physical, economic, social and technological constraints to achieving that; and what the most feasible options are. Actually there can be no concise universal definition of environmental management, however it can be briefly summarized in this aspects: supporting sustainable development; demands multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary or even holistic approach; it should integrate and reconcile different development viewpoints; co-ordinate science, social, policy making and planning; proactive process; timescales and concern ranges from local to global; stresses stewardship rather than exploitation; and dealing with a world affected by human.
In other way, environmental management can be explained as methods of ways when dealing issues due to the importance to improve environmental stewardship by integrating ecology, policy making, planning and social development. The goals include: sustaining and if possible improving existing resources; preventing and overcoming environmental problems; establishing limits; founding and nurturing institutions that effectively support environmental research, monitoring and management; warning of threats and identifying opportunities; where possible improving ‘quality of life’; and finally identifying new technology or policies that are useful. And moreover, actually environmental management may be subdivided into number of fields, including:
- Environmental economics
- Sustainable development issues
- Environmental assessment, modeling, forecasting and ‘hand-casting’
- Corporate environmental management activities
- Pollution recognition and control
- Environmental enforcement and legislation
- Environmental and development institutions and ethics
- Environmental management systems and quality issues
- Environmental planning and management
- Assessment of stakeholders involved in environmental management
- Environmental perceptions and education
- Community participation
- Natural resources management
- Environmental rehabilitation
- Environmental politics
- Environment aid and institution building
Generally, the environmental managers must ensure there is optimum balance between environmental protection and allowing human liberty. Then, the question is “how it can be done?” Basically there are several steps in environmental management implementation. First, we need to identify goals and define problems, then determine appropriate actions, which will be continued as draw-up plan. Next, implement the plan, which followed by ongoing development management. After that keep monitor and evaluate the situation. If there are adjustments needed, do it. Then finally when the exact model of environmental management is generated, continuous development will be able to be conducted. Moreover there are some plenty approaches to environmental management which can be seen below:
Ad hoc approach: approach developed in reaction to a specific situation
Problem-solving approach: follows a series of logical steps to identify problems and needs to implement solutions
Systems approach: for example,
Regional approach: mainly ecological zones or bio-geophysical units, which may sometimes be international. For example,
Command area development authority
Specialist discipline approach: often adopted by professionals, For example,
Air quality management
Water quality management
Human ecology approach
Conservation area Management.
Strategic environmental management approach
Voluntary sector approach:: environmental management by, or encouraged by NGOs. For example,
‘Ginger groups’ which try to prompt environmental management
Private funding for research or environmental management.
Commercial approach: environmental management for business/public bodies
Political economy or political ecology approach
Human ecology approach
Through the ages, human starts to realize to understand the importance of environmental management in sustainable development method. However, in years during the development there were changes and evolution among the concept. For example, in 1930s the Soviet Union fascist regime and even briefly USA explored state manipulation of development. However few tried to shift laizzes faire attitudes toward environmental management before 1960s. Then finally since 1970 environmental management appeared as problem solving field, providing practical assistance. However before 1900s it still paid limited attention to social issues. In 1970s human also realized that it has to cope with changes of fashion, variations, changing technological capabilities, social capital, social values, skill, confidence and many other variables. And also, by the time there were ethics concern classifications in four groups:
- Technocratic environmental ethics = resource-exploitative, growth-oriented;
- Managerial environmental ethics = resource-conservative, oriented to sustainable growth;
- Communalist environmental ethics = resource-preservationist, oriented to limited to zero growth;
- Bioethicist or deep ecology environmental ethics = extreme preservationist, a anti-growth.
Group 1 is anthropocentric and places faith in the capacity of technology to overcome problems. Group four is unlikely to attract support from enough people to be viable approach, and offers little guidance to environmental managers. Meanwhile the ethics of group 2 and 3 were more likely to support sustainable development and provide guidance for environmental management. By the way there’s another grouping of environmental management:
- Anthropocentric- human welfare is placed before environment or biota;
- Ecocentric – focused on ecosystem conservation
- Biocentric – organisms are seen to have value per se
CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
Related to the environmental issues, there are some problems emerged in the surface. Eventually problems come from small to huge scale range. There are some possibilities of environmental problems such as pollution, soil erosion, over-fishing, loss of forest, and physical surrounding changes. Environmental stress may be caused by human activities (e.g. resource exploitation, urban growth, warfare, globalization, capital penetration and technological change). Environmental management may need to modify the activities and ethics of individuals, groups and societies to achieve its goals. There are three main approaches, which can be adopted to try to do that:
This is a method, which can be conducted through education, demonstration, media and public advice
Economic or fiscal
This is an approach, which can be conducted through taxation, grants, subsidies and trade agreements
This is an approach, which can be implemented through laws, restrictions, licensing and zoning.
Hopefully these approaches can effectively help environment to be in better condition. However, environmental managers should be able to face the problems nicely by choosing suitable methods and approaches in given situation.
Environmental management is evolving and spreading. It has still to be adequately adapted to suit all conditions, and will continue to get developed as well as the growing number of human activities that related to its interaction to the environment. Environmental management demands a proactive approach to development and must integrate closely with other disciplines. Without proactive environmental management, development is unlikely to be sustainable and people will be more vulnerable to disasters. Considering that the world and its resources are finite, yet human demands and population continues to increase, sustainable development is the key issue to be concerned about. However, even though there are no one single approach to environmental management, there are key concepts and tools to choose from. Sufficient environmental managers should be able to identify suitable strategies and tools best suited for a given situation. A precautionary and proactive approach is wise to be implemented when sustainable development is a serious goal to be considered.
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