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Engineering LibreTexts

3: The Evolution of Environmental Policy in the United States

  • Page ID
    12020
    • 3.1: The Evolution of Environmental Policy in the United States - Chapter Introduction
      It is not uncommon to think of the sustainability paradigm as being a recent interpretation of environmental policy, one that was given credence by the United Nations report "Our Common Future" (the Brundtland Report) when it was first presented in 1987. Certainly the period during the final decade of the twentieth century was witness to significant growth in our understanding of the complexity and global reach of many environmental problems and issues, and as discussed in Chapter An Introductio
    • 3.2: The American Conservation Movement
      To most early colonists who immigrated to North America, for whom the concept of “wastage” had no specific meaning, the continent was a land of unimaginably vast resources in which little effort was made to treat, minimize, or otherwise manage. This is not surprising, when one stand of trees was consumed for housing or fuel, another was nearby; when one field was eroded to the point of limited fertility, expansion further inland was relatively simple; when rivers became silted so that fisheries
    • 3.3: Environmental Risk Management
      For most people, the concept of risk is intuitive and, often, experiential; for instance most people are aware of the considerably greater likelihood of suffering an injury in an automobile accident (116/100 million vehicle miles) versus suffering an injury in a commercial airplane accident (0.304/100 million airplane miles).
    • 3.4: Sustainability and Public Policy
      NEPA, both in tone and purpose, was in sharp contrast to the many environmental laws that followed in the 1970s and 1980s that defined increasingly proscriptive methods for controlling risks from chemical exposure (this is sometimes termed the "command-and-control" approach to environmental management).
    • 3.5: Public Health and Sustainability
      Ecological sustainability is more than just continuing the resource flows of the natural world to sustain the economic machine, while maintaining diversity of species and ecosystems. It is also about sustaining the vast support systems for health and life which could be considered the real bottom line of sustainability. Before examining the public health effects of non-sustainable development, we should define public health.