Magazine article American Forests

The Initiative in a Nutshell: Why We Call for a New Framework

Magazine article American Forests

The Initiative in a Nutshell: Why We Call for a New Framework

Article excerpt

The environment is a seamless, interactive system that wraps the Earth. At some level, everyone understands that what happens on the land affects the health of the air, the waterways, and so on. Amazingly--since we intuitively understand that the environment is a system--businesses, government, even watchdog groups have never truly addressed the environment this way. Business has seen the environment as a resource. Government has tried to create legal frameworks to manage its' use. The activist community has tried to protect it. Because of their conflicting goals--development versus protection--businesses and activists have approached environmental problems from opposite directions. Governmental actions have ranged widely, depending on the political climate, from laissez-faire to inflexible regulation. The outcome is a piecemeal, ad hoc, and inconsistent environmental policy.

Whether they have involved setting aside wilderness, protecting endangered species or regulating air and water quality, all of our efforts to minimize environmental damage have been divided up into projects or problems. Unless we begin to approach the environment as a system, we will not preserve it. Unless we try to solve environmental challenges within the context of a system, we will only address part of the problem. In the face of inevitable, continued urban and economic development around the world, such partial solutions will be disastrous.

Restoring and sustaining a healthy environmental system is not about being pro-business or pro-environment. It is about being pro-human. Just saving the wild landscape that remains is not enough. Humans already gobble up more than half the available nutrients produced by plants on this planet. Species are disappearing faster than they can be catalogued. The degradation has gone too far.

Our challenge, then, is to move beyond the traditional approach of regulation and protection. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.