Environmental assessment and management involve the production of scientific knowledge and its use in decision-making processes. The result is that within these essentially rational, political assessment frameworks, experts are creating and applying scientific knowledge for decision and management purposes that actually have strong ethical and aesthetic dimensions. Yet these rational political frameworks lack the tools to provide guidance on ethical and aesthetic issues that affect the wider public.
This revolutionary work argues that ethical and aesthetic dimensions can only be brought into environmental politics and policies by citizens actively taking a stand on the specific matters in question. The author draws on Habermas trisection of rationality as cognitive-instrumental, moral-practical and aesthetic-expressive, to suggest that truly effective environmental policy needs to activate all three approaches and not favour only the rational. To achieve this objective, the author argues that public participation in environmental policy and assessment is necessary to counteract the dictatorship of technical and economic instrumentality in environmental policy - the failure to take ethical and aesthetic rationalities into account - and, more importantly, how such policy is applied on the ground to shape our natural and material world.
Table of Contents
Preface * Introduction * The Environment as a Goal * Modernity and Reflexivity * Ecological Modernization * The Environmental Politics of Modernity * Bibliography * Index
Bo Elling is a Professor at Roskilde University, Denmark. His research focuses on modern society and environmental planning and regulation, with particular emphasis on SEA for land use planning, SEA at the policy level, and the knowledge and rationality that public participation brings to the SEA process.
'Required reading for anybody with both a general and professional interest in environmental management.' Niels West, Research Professor and Professor Emeritus, Department of Marine Affairs, University of Rhode Island 'This new volume from Bo Elling, a leading expert in the fields of EIA and SEA, provides a comprehensive critical approach to developments in these fields and proposes a unique integration of philosophy and environmental management, involving aesthetics and ethics and increased public participation in decision-making. This book will play a major role in the advancement of environmental management thinking and in the continued development of the influential environmental assessment tool. I strongly recommend this book to students, academics, consultants and government professionals.' Christopher Wood, Emeritus Professor of Environmental Planning, University of Manchester 'Rationality and the Environment uniquely examines the work of environmental sociologists and philosophers in order to lay the foundation between environmental politics and management and the emerging field of environmental philosophy. It should be required reading for anybody with both a general and professional interest in environmental management.' Niels West, Research Professor and Professor Emeritus, Department of Marine Affairs, University of Rhode Island 'A much-needed, fundamental contribution to the hitherto mainly pragmatic discussions on role, function and form of environmental impact assessments, which translates into very practical views and processes.' Wil A. H. Thissen, Professor and Head of Policy Analysis, Delft University of Technology