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Renegotiating the Environment: The power of politics

By: Jenny Stewart and Grant Jones

Federation Press

Paperback | Oct 2003 | #159650 | ISBN: 1862874735
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NHBS Price: £21.99 $27/€25 approx

About this book

Environmental managers, scientists and activists are accustomed to seeing politics in a negative light. Politics equals self-interest, which means the power structures, assumptions and behaviours which, many would argue, are the reason for our seeming inability to deal with a range of environmental issues, including the toughest questions of salinity, land degradation, and coastal development.

The authors of Renegotiating the Environment argue that, rather than seeing the politics of self-interest as an impediment, managers should learn to acknowledge, understand and use politics to generate better outcomes. Better environmental governance will be achieved by a process of evolution rather than by imposition of changes in response to conventional diagnostic and analytical frameworks.

But rather than just waiting for this evolution to progress of its own accord, Stewart and Jones argue that it can be pushed forward by understanding of politics that allows for the energy and interests of groups and individuals to be harnessed rather than stifled, in order to achieve more consensual (and hence more sustainable) solutions.

For managers, scientists and even for activists, this is a new and different way of approaching environmental problems. Renegotiating the Environment supports its case through detailed case studies and theoretical analysis as well as offering practical guidance for managers interested in implementing governance-based responses to environmental problems.

This book is a 'must read' for anyone involved in natural resources management: politicians, public servants and community leaders, and every student of natural resources, agriculture and the environment. It is a refreshingly honest analysis of the roles that politics, power, leadership, governance and conflict play in decision making. Importantly, it takes real case studies and highlights the lessons learnt, giving practical suggestions about what works and what doesn't. Leith Boully, Chair, Community Advisory Council, Murray-Darling Basin Commission There is now scientific consensus about what we need to do to restore our ecosystems, and in particular our rivers, to sustainability. The challenge is how do we apply this knowledge and understanding to produce the outcomes that are needed. Renegotiating the Environment is an original book, with some important messages about how to implement change. Professor Peter Cullen, Environmentalist of the Year 2001, Chair, Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists Renegotiating the Environment provides a refreshingly sensible, persuasive and informed perspective on environmental management, policy and politics. By perceiving within environmental conflict the opportunity for creative environmental governance, Stewart and Jones offer managers, policy-makers and activists the prospect of finding avenues for negotiating positive outcomes. Nine compelling case studies, encompassing aspects of water management, forestry and urban development, give the analysis a thoroughly practical and contemporary flavour.At the same time, the book also gently but convincingly challenges common philosophical perceptions of environmental conflict. Renegotiating the Environment is clearly written and is reassuringly uncluttered by ideological presumptions.I recommend it strongly to managers, practitioners, activists on all sides of the debate, researchers, students and engaged citizens - indeed to anybody interested in moving forward towards an environmentally sustainable Australia. Professor Andrew Parkin, Editor, Australian Journal of Political Science What happens when a mining company wants to discharge millions of litres of salty water into a river from which farmers draw water for irrigation? This and other scenarios greet the reader in the opening paragraph of this book. Straight away the reader is assured that current and relevant case studies will be the focus of this book. The authors put forward strong arguments that politics can work for the good of the environment. aaC--A| Any teacher who is teaching about issues in the geography classroom can draw a great deal from this book. aaC--A| A most useful teacher reference. Interaction (Geography Teachers Assocn of Vic Jnl), Vol 32(1), March 2004 A progressive and thought-provoking book pitched at influencing the contemporary arena of environmental negotiation in Australia. It is good to see an accessible, case-study based title that tries to assist our progress on key environmental issues by aiming to improve the efficiency of the critical political mechanics which often have to come before practical solutions. ECOS No 118, January-March 2004 The authors of Renegotiating the Environment argue that, rather than seeing politics as an impediment, managers should learn to acknowledge, understand and use politics to generate better outcomes. They argue that environmental conflict creates opportunities for creative environmental governance, a new kind of management. A total of nine detailed case studies are analysed to offer practical guidance for implementing governance-based responses to environmental problems. aaC--A| Stewart and Jones argue that more consensual (and hence more sustainable) solutions can be achieved by understanding the politics of self-interest that allows the energy and interests of groups and individuals to be harnessed rather than stifled. Their analytical documentation of nine examples demonstrates that negotiation of interests and balancing values is at the heart of making sustainable decisions. Renegotiating the Environment is a new and different way of approaching environmental problems. It is a aaC--Eumust readaaC--a for anyone involved in natural resources: politicians, public servants, managers, scientists, community leaders, activists and students of planning and environment. Claudia Baldwin, Aust Journal of Environmental Management, Dec 2004


Major Themes Why 'renegotiate' the environment? How does politics change environmental policy? The processes of environmental politics Institutional theory What makes institutions change? What is 'governance'? Environmental governance How do we know it works? Conclusion Sharing Water: Towards River Governance The structure of conflict Managing rivers Wildlife and the Macquarie Marshes Wine, mines and salinity in the Hunter River Pollution and the Hawkesbury-Nepean River Comparing the three outcomes Policy capacity Conclusion The Green Battlefield: Regional Forest Agreements in Three States What are Regional Forest Agreements? New South Wales - a green win? Tasmania - an industry win Western Australia - the RFA that collapsed Comparing the three arguments Policy ideas Information A balanced result? Conclusion Whose City, Whose View? M2 toll road - the juggernaut Sydney airport Byron Bay Cities and the environment What Works? Evaluating the effectiveness of conflict resolution Consensus as a measure of success Rating the case studies Making sense of the case studies Political support Leadership Productive pluralism Policy learning The conditions for environmental governance Towards Environmental Governance Creating environmental governance Political management Analysis Influencing power Promoting accountability Conflict resolution Civilising conflict Create and disseminate technical information that will enhance quality and focus of the debate Leadership Translate' scientific information into concepts that can be understood Select targets that are policy-relevant Find practical links between outcomes and what people can do Management for governance: a hypothetical example The relationship between environmental governance and environmental management Implications for Public Sector Management Constraints and limitations How good is governance for the environment? The scope for practising governance Bureaucratic culture and accountability Advantages of governance Social equity Change management The limitations of politics? Politics and governance Table of Cases/ Table of Statutes/ Index

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