Monday, September 15, 2014

Sustainable Environmental Management

by Antonio C. Antonio
August 29, 2014

Anyone who does a study or research on environmental management will note that the word “sustainable” is a prefix closely associated with the term.  So what is the definition of the word “sustainable”?  The dictionary defines sustainable as: (a) Able to be used without being completely used up or destroyed; (b) Involving methods that do not completely use up or destroy natural resources; and, (c) Able to last or continue for a long time.

The term “environmental” is defined as: (a) Relating to the natural world and the impact of human activity on its condition; and, (b) Relating to or arising from a person’s surroundings.  Environment is anything and everything, biotic or abiotic (living or non-living); and, supportive of life on planet Earth.  The 1st Law of Ecology by Barry Commoner is: “Everything is connected to everything else.”

On the other hand, the word “management” is defined as: “The function of coordinating human efforts to accomplish pre-set goals and objectives using all available resources efficiently and effectively.  The functions of management are to plan, organize, staff, lead/direct and control an organization towards accomplishing a goal and objective.  Sustainable environmental management, like most management-related disciplines, also uses the management function.

Combining the 3 terms will give us “sustainable environmental management”.  This is a broad field of study that combines both natural and social sciences and also the arts as in the specific study of landscape ecology.  Sustainable environmental management is a multidisciplinary field which focuses on studying and finding solutions to the world’s immediate environmental problems and concerns.  It dwells on problem-solving and the development of applied solutions to environmental issues at all levels (local, national and international).  Sustainable environmental management is concerned and involved with the management of the different types of ecosystems: (a) Land; (b) Water [fresh or salt]; and, (c) The atmosphere.

Sustainable environmental management, in direct relationship with the functions of management, can be presented in a circle of activities as follows: (1) An environmental VISION; (2) An environmental STRATEGY; (3) Detailed PLANNING; (4) A structured Environmental COMMUNICATION system; (5) A workable IMPLIMENTATION plan; (6) A comprehensive REPORTING system; and, (7) An oversight-focused evaluation of RESULTS.  More often, re-cycling of activities becomes necessary to address failures in the plans and programs.  (Please see accompanying image.)  To promote a high level of success, the following principles of action are also recommended: (1) Integration – ensures the all important activities are harmonized; (2) Prevention before cure – ensure that immediate action is taken to prevent the escalation problems and its irreversible effects; (3) Cost efficiency and cost effectiveness – ensures the judicious utilization of limited resources and the perennial problem of lack of funds; and, (4) Participatory management – ensure trouble-free implementation of the project or programme.

The study of sustainable environmental management is for the following purposes: (a) To examine key concepts in sustainable development, climate and other environmental change, environmental data collection and analysis, bio security and ecological applications; (b) To integrate these to provide an holistic approach to sustainable environmental management; and, (c) To provide more specialist expertise in aspects of sustainable environmental management relevant to human needs.

Sustainable development is the concept of utilizing natural resources now while leaving the same resources for the utilization of the future generations… this is the essence of sustainable environmental management.

Just my little thoughts…

REFERENCES: (Keywords:  Sustainable / Environmental / Management)

·         Barry Commoner (

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