Environmental decision making process

As the global trend towards protecting the environment, decreasing the pollution and developing the environmental sustainable development, the environmental decision making process has become an increasing challenge. Central to the environmental decision making process is the public participation. This essay will argue that the public participation is the necessary process of the environmental decision making process. It will demonstrate the reasons and provide examples.According to Harding, R, Hendriks, C, M, Faruqi, M (2009), there are five reasons that supporting public participation in EDM. First one is the moral reason, because the participation shows the democracy, which means that the public should have the chance to take part in the environmental decision making process. In addition, the participation also promotes the transparent of the EDM. The UN and OECD also argue that the participation should have opportunity to affect the decision making. The second reason is epistemic reason, which is the opportunity for public to widen their knowledge. Moreover, when people with different knowledge working together for the EDM, the result may be near-perfect, because they can share the knowledge and resources, which is beneficial for comprehensiveness of the EDM. Next one is administrative and managerial reason. Participation is beneficial for the open and transparent of EDM. The fourth is ecological reason, which participation may promote the positive outcome of the EDM. In other words, the changes of the publics’ ideas will produce the beneficial outcomes for the ecosystem. Finally, the advocacy reason means that the managers invite publics to join the decision making process. For example, if there is a new planning for the water management, the government managers will hold a public hearing for getting the ideas from the public, which may be beneficial for managers adding the publics’ ideas into the decision making process.

However, there are also some risks of the public participation. First one is that subjective factor will affect the result of EDM. For example, some environmental protection organization may think about environment firstly and some economic organization may think about money firstly, but the decision making process should be the balance above all factors and beneficial for the development of human. In addition, the public education should be regarded as a significant factor of the EDM. Because of that the correct decision should base on the correct and wide knowledge, if not base on this situation, the decision will be ex parte, subjective.

In conclusion, the public participation is the significant process of the environmental decision making process. Even though there are some drawbacks, all things considered, the positives seem to be more important.  



Harding, R; Hendriks, C, M; Faruqi, M 2009, Environmental decision- making: exploring complexity and context, Sydney: The Federation Press, pp.167-192.


Skanavis, C; Sakellari, M 2007, Gender and sustainable tourism: women’s participation in the environmental decision- making process


Kingston, R; Carver, S; Evans, A; Turton, I 2000, Web-based public participation geographical information systems: an aid to local environmental decision-making, Computers, Environment and Urban Systems Vol. 24, PP. 109~125


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