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Personal Perspectives on the Role of Individuals and Organizations in Environmental Management

Autor:   •  October 18, 2014  •  Essay  •  1,119 Words (5 Pages)  •  838 Views

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Personal perspectives on the role of individuals and organizations in environmental management


This short paper aims to briefly summarize my personal opinions about and perceptions of the environment and the importance of environmental management. The views presented here are subjective and intended solely to critically explore what I regard as fundamental dilemmas associated with interaction between the human species and its environment. Unresolved issues and questions are raised in the final section.

Context-based definition of the environment and environmental management

For the purposes of this paper, the environment represents “[t]he totality of circumstances surrounding an organism or group of organisms.” Spatially, this can be seen as being limited to planet Earth and its immediate atmosphere. Environmental management is defined here as the “the management of the interaction and impact of human activities on the natural environment”. In other words, the actions undertaken by individuals and organizations in order to influence the extent to, and the manner in, which human impacts on the environment are managed (restricted or otherwise affected).

Personal perspectives and objectives

My personal perspective of and objective vis-à-vis the environment is relatively easy to explain: I accept that I am unable to live in isolation from my environment (whether physical, social or political) and therefore live in a state of unequal interdependence. As an individual, I am subject to the collective environmental impacts caused by others and, in turn, have a limited influence on the environmental impacts to which others are subject. While I am rationally aware that my actions (e.g. using public transport as opposed to my car) affect others, there is little apparent evidence thereof. This illustrates the dilemma that Hardin has highlighted, namely that the direct benefits of my actions are tangible, while the indirect consequences of them are not.

As an individual, my stated aim is to leave the planet in an environmental condition which is no worse, and ideally better, than that into which I was born in 1967. The ‘balance sheet’ of my life in social and environmental terms should be positive. As a parent, my personal objective is to raise two children who have the education, the will and the means to do the same, for themselves and for future generations.

The human dilemma we face is that we have for the first time developed the technical means to unsustainably exploit our environment. Rather than being managed by our environment in much the same way as overpopulations of animals are naturally ‘corrected’ by means of rising numbers of predators or the scarcity of food supplies and/or habitats, we humans now have the means, particularly in the developed


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