What is public participation in environmental decision-making?

What is public participation in environmental decision-making?

Public participation can be defined as a continuous, two-way communication process that includes promoting full public understanding of the processes and mechanisms by which the responsible agency investigates and solves environmental problems and needs; keeping the public fully informed about the status quo; and facilitating an open discussion of alternatives and possible solutions.

Effective public participation is essential to ensuring that decisions are based on good science, consider all relevant factors, and meet the requirements of law. It also helps to ensure broad community support for important projects or programs. In addition, effective public participation promotes public trust in government and helps establish clear lines of authority. Finally, it provides a means by which members of the public can voice their opinions about issues affecting their lives.

In Canada, the federal government has enacted legislation requiring certain agencies to involve the public in their decision-making processes. These agencies include: Environment Canada, which is the federal government's environmental protection agency; Health Canada, which is the federal government body responsible for protecting the health of Canadians; Fisheries and Oceans Canada, which is responsible for managing fish stocks in Canadian waters and enforcing fishing regulations; National Defence, which is the military department responsible for planning and executing operations within Canada at the direction of the minister responsible for National Defense; and TransCanada Corporation, which is a major international pipeline company that currently holds approval rights to build a natural gas pipeline from Alberta to New Brunswick.

What are the three key principles of environmental policy?

It provides the public with three rights: public participation in environmental decision-making, access to environmental information held by public authorities (e.g. on the state of the environment or human health where affected by the former), and access to justice when the other two rights have been violated. These principles form the basis for many international agreements, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

In addition to these global efforts, several countries have developed national legislation to protect the environment. In some cases, this legislation implements one or more of the three main principles set out above. For example, the United States' National Environmental Policy Act (1970) requires government agencies to assess the impact of their actions on the environment and make those impacts known to the public. Other countries with significant environmental protection laws include India, Japan, and Russia.

Finally, a number of large companies have adopted sustainability practices that align with the three main principles of environmental policy. These include adopting green energy sources into their business models (e.g. using solar power instead of fossil fuels), recycling waste products, and protecting natural areas through employee travel plans and reduced logging activities.

These are just a few examples of environmental policy. There is a wide range of legislation covering air quality, water conservation, toxic substances, biodiversity, and climate change. We will discuss some more specific policies in subsequent lessons.

What are the stages of environmental activism?

This model depicts the five stages of public attention to an environmental problem: pre-problem, alarmed-discovery, recognizing the price of development, reduction of public interest, and post-problem. It has been applied to a wide range of issues, including air pollution, acid rain, global warming, and water contamination.

Pre-Problem: The public is unaware of the issue. Alarmed Discovery: People become aware of the issue but it isn't yet seen as serious. Recognizing the Price of Development: Once awareness increases to a level where people feel that the issue is serious, they also realize that their lives will not be immediately affected by it. This understanding leads them to ask themselves why it is important to take action. Reduction of Public Interest: Since people see that development will continue, they lose interest in the issue. Post-Problem: After a series of efforts fail to bring about change, people give up on the issue.

In addition to these models, other frameworks have been proposed to explain how issues come before legislatures and executive agencies.

Lobbying is the process by which individuals or organizations encourage government officials to support their views on issues before them. Lobbying may involve direct meetings with officials or written communications (e.g., letters, emails).

About Article Author

Earl Abraham

Earl Abraham is an environmental scientist, who has a degree in that field. He loves nature and believes in the importance of preserving our planet. He has written several books on the environment and climate change, and he frequently gives lectures on these topics. He is also a strong advocate for renewable energy sources and believes that we need to move away


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