Science and Politics in the International Environmentworld


James Eflin,

"International Cooperation in Environmental Politics."

map | inevitable tension | means to a resolution


"The message has become clear; the functional operations of of an ecosystem or landscape-scale unit must be addressed clearly and holistically when large scale restoration or sustainable development is being practiced. This is being recognized for inland ecosystems (such as the Great Lakes), as well as sustainable development for such seas (such as the Baltic). Less clear is how the science behind that message fits within the evolution of the sociopolitical processes of resource management."

Some examples of ecological problems among nation states.

Subdividing natural problems Area names
Scope watersed  
small mountain meadows
medium Truckee River
  Lake Tahoe
  Great basin
Watershed or drainage basin areas connect up
in ever larger areas of decreasing scales.*

This may require " a fundamental reframing of how humans may work with nature." [Grumbine's words]

"More successful collaboration among European states appears to be leading toward more successful implementation of the ecosystem approach in the Baltic Sea region, whereas the more isolationist histories in North America (at least within the United States) appear to impede the spirit of cooperation that underlies the fundamental principles of ecosystem management."


This then is the tension

The balancing act among participants between restoration and the status quo.








a healthy future for the entire biotic enterprise "...if you think that you can work through this concept and avoid conflict, are kidding yourselves."
Grumbine Gilbertson
restorative balancing status quo

A dichotomy between Gilbertson's and Grumbine's commentaries about ecosystem management

Susan Gilbertson, EPA

"Sometimes those authorities are in conflict. And if you think that you can work through this concept and avoid conflict, are kidding yourselves."

Dr. Grumbine, "What is Ecosystem Management" author

"Ecosystem management is a call to restorative action that promises a healthy future for the entire biotic enterprise. The choice is ours--a world where the gap between people and nature grows to an incomprehensible chasm, or a world of damaged but recoverable ecological integrity...."


"Through such means, the 'public' may be led to adopt policy measures that require a maturation of thinking that can embrace the scientifically rich focus on ecological systems as being the first-order units for which environmental management efforts must be designed."


More on adaptive management. The cost of clean-up? What is an externality?


Scale here refers to a ratio of size in a map, model, drawing, or plan–a one-fifth scale model of a seven-story building | an Ordnance Survey map on a scale of 1:2500. See problems of scale.

Ecolacy is ecological literacy

Ecological imagination

Ecology terms and connectedness

Ehrlich & Ehrlich

Last Updated on 09/11/2011 .

By Joseph Siry

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