Environmental protection is a practice of protecting the natural environment on individual, organizational or governmental levels, for the benefit of the natural environment and humans. Due to the pressures of population and technology, the biophysical environment is being degraded, sometimes permanently. This has been recognized, and governments have begun placing restraints on activities that cause environmental degradation. Since the 1960's, activity of environmental movements has created awareness of the various environmental issues. There is no agreement on the extent of the environmental impact of human activity, and protection measures are occasionally criticized. Academic institutions now offer courses, such as environmental studies, environmental management and environmental engineering, that teach the history and methods of environment protection. Protection of the environment is needed due to various human activities. Waste production, air pollution, and loss of biodiversity (resulting from the introduction of invasive species and species extinction) are some of the issues related to environmental protection. Environmental protection is influenced by three interwoven factors: environmental legislation, ethics and education. Each of these factors plays its part in influencing national-level environmental decisions and personal-level environmental values and behaviors. For environmental protection to become a reality, it is important for societies to develop each of these areas that, together, will inform and drive environmental decisions.
Approaches to environmental protection
Voluntary environmental agreements
In industri countries, voluntary environmental agreements often provide a platform for companies to be recognized for moving beyond the minimum regulatory standards and, thus, support the development of best environmental practice. In developing countries, such as throughout Latin America, these agreements are more commonly used to remedy significant levels of non-compliance with mandatory regulation. The challenges that exist with these agreements lie in establishing baseline data, targets, monitoring and reporting. Due to the difficulties inherent in evaluating effectiveness, their use is often questioned and, indeed, the environment may well be adversely affected as a result. The key advantage of their use in developing countries is that their use helps to build environmental management capacity.
An ecosystems approach to resource management and environmental protection aims to consider the complex interrelationships of an entire ecosystem in decision making rather than simply responding to specific issues and challenges. Ideally the decision-making processes under such an approach would be a collaborative approach to planning and decision making that involves a broad range of stakeholders across all relevant governmental departments, as well as representatives of industry, environmental groups and community. This approach ideally supports a better exchange of information, development of conflict-resolution strategies and improved regional conservation.
International environmental agreements
Many of the earth’s resources are especially vulnerable because they are influenced by human impacts across many countries. As a result of this, many attempts are made by countries to develop agreements that are signed by multiple governments to prevent damage or manage the impacts of human activity on natural resources. This can include agreements that impact factors such as climate, oceans, rivers and air Kyoto Protocol Commitment map 2010 pollution. These international environmental agreements are sometimes legally binding documents that have legal implications when they are not followed and, at other times, are more agreements in principle or are for use as codes of conduct....
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