Example Environmental Studies Essay. The programme and promotion of global environmental concern and sustainability.

Example Environmental Studies Essay. The programme and promotion of global environmental concern and sustainability.
The regeneration project can be considered an example of environmentalmicro-management. In the same way that it is possible to cause a change bytackling a major issue across a system, it is also possible to cause a changeby tackling a number of minor issues.
The disadvantage of tackling major issues is their inertia, whichrequires more resources and more time to achieve an effect. The disadvantage oftackling minor issues is that their individual impact is more difficult to beassessed within a global frame.

In the case of environmental sustainability, however, there is anadvantage in solving a problem close to the public. As long as the publicrealises the benefits of sustainability/restoration policies, small scaleenvironmental restoration projects may win over the public to support moreradical policies (on manufacturing, emissions, etc). This is important due tothe conflics between conservation, technology and economics in policy making(Portney, 1992)

Particular aspects of the environmental background of the Cotswold canals.

In the specific case of thisproject, there are a number of considerations concerning the environmentalbenefit of the canal restoration project. It is true that a more or lessrunning course of water (the open canal) is preferred to a more or lessstagnant water body (the derelict canal). Stagnant waters may not only lookunattractive, but in hot seasons may become a source of disease and discomfort.

The Cotswold canals had beenabandoned completely from 1941, although some sections had been abandoned in1927 and the last cargo boat passed its summit in 1911. The canal had beenbuilt in successive stages, starting in 1757. The climatic point was theopening of the summit of the canal in 1786. Connection from the Severn to theThames rivers was achieved in 1789. Because of a series of design flaws in thelocks, and also because of cracks in the canal bed at the summit, the canalwasted huge amounts of waters.

The Regeneration project in terms of sustainability.

The above information shows that the Cotswold canal was a disruption ofthe environment and actually was draining water from some areas, changing theavailability of water in the catchment area and the reception area (or wastingit, as was the case at the summit).

So, from a direct point ofview, the maximum apparent environmental benefit would come from undoing thecanal. By choosing adequately the landfill materials used to make sure they areinert (e.g. earth from a construction work) it could be closed. By digging outand building or rebuilding structures, actually pollution and materials to bedisposed will be generated. Topping (Turner, 1995) indicates that according toCIEC (1992) the construction industry was responsible by 1992 both of using 50%of all the available landfill volume and of wasting about 10% of all theconstruction materials used. However, undoing the canals is a negative actioncourse, and the complete undoing would not provide anything remarkable.Landscape management on the other hand falls within EU conservation policieis(Lowe and Ward, 1998).

On the other hand, policyaspects on sustainability can certainly be developed by supporting the CotswoldCanal Restoration Project.

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Programme.

Weaknesses include the factthat the canal is not going to be profitable commercially and that it relies onvolunteer work. This means that the programme may come under scrutiny on thegrounds that it will not be able to show benefits, for example, in terms ofreduced consumption of fuel for transportation of goods/passengers.

The Stroud District Council,in its Thames and Severn Canals Restoration Position Statement clearly statesthat it expects economic advantages to come from tourism and employment derivedfrom construction and development. It fails to mention the canal as acommercial trade route. Reliance on a volunteer workforce hints to the lack ofinterest by investors and companies in the project.

The environmental aims are minor and may be criticised by environmentalaction groups. After all, preserving or restoring wildlife is not the same aslandscape management. A more potent case of canal restoration is the RochdaleCanal, in Greater Manchester (Manchester Forum, 2001). In this case, therestoration has amongst its purposes to guarantee the survival of one of thelargest colonies of floating water plantain (Luronium Natans) which has thrivedin this canal during its disuse. This plant is a water weed nearly extinctwhich is protected by both UK and European legislation. The Rochdale Canal isalso home to other rare water weeds like water soldier, fringed water lily andAmerican pond weed. In the Rochdale case a strong case on conservation ofbiodiversity, relevant to gloval environmental issues is made (Harris, 2004)The Stroud District Council, in its Thames and Severn Canals RestorationPosition Statement fails to mention any specific cases in which biodiversitywill be preserved by the restoration project

Strengths are mainly two. Thefirst come from the fact that the programme creates a local volunteer workforceand therefore identifies highly motivated and environmentally aware individualswho might be committed to other environmental initiatives. This may includeeither working in other environmental projects, in specific environmentalcampaigns, or generally supporting sustainability policies and lobbying withthe political parties, and the various councils. Raising awareness is part ofthe EU Environmental Action Plan

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