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What is environmental management?

Environmental management, also known as “environmental stewardship”, is a set of practices for protecting the environment. It covers prevention, administration and recovery projects designed to preserve the natural environment and its resources with sustainable practices.

Environmental management can be provided by government bodies, companies, non-profit organizations (NGOs) and other collective networks, but also by individuals and small independent organizations.

What are the principles of environmental management?

The fundamental principles that set the objectives of environmental management and guide its activities are:

  • Responsibility, on the part of individuals and governments, for preserving the environment for future generations. 
  • The conservation of natural resources, such as water, soil, etc.
  • Sustainability in the way we meet current needs, so as not to compromise the ability of future generations to also satisfy their needs.
  • Minimizing the impact of human activity on the environment, including pollution and the degradation of ecosystems.
  • Education and awareness of the importance of environmental management. Also known as environmental literacy, it seeks to disseminate information on the interdependence of ecosystems to raise awareness of the importance of preserving them.  

What are the main environmental management practices?

The commonest practices in environmental management include the following:

  • Reducing and recycling waste: seeking to generate less waste, which causes pollution, and reduce the extraction of natural resources.
  • Energy conservation and production: aimed at reducing superfluous energy consumption, and changing from energy sources that contribute to the greenhouse effect to clean and renewable energy sources.
  • Restoring ecosystems: seeking to reverse the impact of human activity on degraded ecosystems and restore biodiversity.
  • Water management: aimed at using the fresh water available on our planet in a conscious, sustainable way, and protecting and preserving its sources.
  • Environmental legislation and regulation: promoting the creation of international laws and alliances to establish regulatory standards and specific responsibilities regarding environmental conservation.

What types of actor are involved in environmental management?

Regardless of their category (civil or governmental, public or private, etc.), the players taking part in environmental management can be divided into three main types:

  • Doers: people or entities that put specific environmental protection or recovery measures into practice. Doers may participate in environmental management occasionally or regularly.
  • Donors: this group contribute financially to environmental management causes. This can be through donations of materials and equipment or through financial contributions.
  • Practitioners: they are professionally and continuously engaged in environmental management. They can have varied professional profiles and occupy different roles.

Why is environmental management important?

Environmental management is indispensable for a more conscious, rational and sustainable use of the natural resources available for human life on Earth, as well as for the preservation of natural ecosystems and the other forms of life we coexist with.Maintaining the balance of ecosystems, preserving biodiversity and mitigating climate change are urgent needs for the planet, and can only be achieved through correct environmental management. These practices are fundamental for the implementation of the 2030 Sustainability Strategy.

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