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Title: Environmental planning, management and sustainability
Other Titles: State of the environment report for Malta 2002
Authors: Mallia, Adrian
Briguglio, Marie
Gauci, Vince
Keywords: Environmental management -- Malta
Environmental protection -- Planning
Environmental responsibility -- Malta
Issue Date: 2002
Publisher: Ministry for Home Affairs and the Environment
Citation: Mallia, A., Briguglio, M., & Gauci, V. (2002). Environmental planning, environmental management and sustainability. In V. Axiak, V. Gauci, A. Mallia, E. Mallia, P. J. Schembri, A. J. Vella & L. Vella (Eds.), State of the environment report for Malta 2002 (pp. 1-37). Valletta: Ministry for Home Affairs and the Environment.
Abstract: Environmental management deals with a number of aspects but at its core lies humankind’s interaction with, and intervention on, the life support systems. Our ability to manage the environment in a sustainable manner depends on our understanding of the various components of the earth-air-water-life system and of the interactions and mechanisms that make it work. Environmental management is not only to do with environmental protection; it has more to do with sustainable resource use. Paramount concern in environmental management is to maintain the earth as a suitable place for human beings to live in for the foreseeable future. This is what most people mean by sustainability. However, comprehensive human well-being is dependent on maintaining a sustainable balance throughout the whole environment, for humans are an integral part of the single life-support system. The weight given in environmental management to specifically human needs as against the “rights” of other organisms is an important ethical and theological question. However, man’s capability of inflicting immense harm to most other organisms and to the environment in general through chemical and mechanical means, underlines the importance of controlling and managing human activities. The philosophy of environmental management is founded on 3 assumptions: a) that there is a sustainable level of renewable resource use from activities such as agriculture and fishing and that technology can be found to extend the supply of non-renewable resources, involving more efficient extraction and/or use of the resources and by substitutions of traditional materials with new ones; b) that a suitable combination of policy measures can rectify environmental damage and conserve resources (this is where EIAs, SEAs, Environmental Management Systems and Environmental Audits come in); and c) that environmental objectives can be agreed and conflicting interests reconciled (this is where the role of NGOs, Local Councils, scientists and the general public is particularly important). Environmental concerns are all pervading. No longer is environmental protection and management the concern of a sector of society. Environmental issues affect everyone and everything and all activities and processes affect the environment itself. Good environmental management and policy formulation requires abundant and varied information as well as a concerted effort at integrating policy-making, management and planning.
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