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Dawn Rittenhouse Introduction SINCE ENVIRO NM ENTAL CO NCERNS FIRST SURFACED AS A NATIONAL issue in the late 1960s, there has been a running argum ent between one side focused on protecting the environm ent and the other side calling attention to the need to assure continued economic develop­ ment. For years this discussion played out as an either/or dilemma: a com m unity could have a clean environm ent and no jobs, or jobs but a degraded environment. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that were focused on the environm ent continued to challenge the federal, state, and local governments to create laws and regulations that would require the reduction of emissions and clean up of already degraded areas. In the meantim e, m any companies struggled to first understand w hat their emissions were and then reduce their emissions to be in compliance w ith these new laws and regulations. Companies invested significant am ounts in lim iting their emis­ sions and cleaning up sites to be compliance with the regulations. For the m ost part, America’s air and rivers are cleaner then they were 25 years ago. Additionally, a num ber of companies found that the actions to reduce their emissions were good for their bottom line as well. In 1992 the World Business Council for Sustainable Development started to m ake the case that reducing waste and emissions w ent hand in hand w ith improving productivity and therefore bottom line performance. Over the decades we proved that economic development could be done w ith less impacts on the environm ent. In hindsight, that m ight have been the easy part. Today’s environm ental challenges are m ore complex and chal­ lenging. Previously we w ere dealing w ith local, point-source em is­ social research Vol 73 : No 3 : Fall 2006 877 sions that could generally be m easured and regulated. Today’s issues are broad and global in scope; their solutions will require actions from governments, the private sector, and individuals. The linkage of science to environm ental policy is now critical, not only in the United States, but also internationally, as we deal w ith global issues like clim ate change and the far-reaching proposals for solutions. Science is im portant in environm ental policymaking. It is im por­ tant in term s of how we define the problem as well as w hat solutions that we seek to im plem ent and in w hat tim e fram e they need to be im plem ented. A key challenge is the interplay betw een the scientist and the policymakers: How can different and diverse interests be repre­ sented in the policy discussion w ithout hijacking the entire process? Is there a right balance of input from entities w ith different perspectives and if so, w hat can be done to create that right balance? The com m ents from discussion participants exemplify some of the key issues associated w ith how to frame the challenge: W here does one draw the line w hen discussing an environm ental issue? As Paul Ehrlich points out, population growth will have a massive effect on alm ost any environm ental issue. Is th at part of the fram ing that we need to use for the policy dialogue, or can we be successful w ith discussions that are more lim ited—specifically, about climate change or ecosystem protection? The com m ents also speak to m any of the challenges in seek­ ing solutions and understanding if the proposed solutions will have the desired affect. As Steve Hayward points out, in the short term no im provem ent—but instead escalating problem s—may be seen w hen proposed solutions are im plem ented. How do we track and under­ stand the broader system changes th at may be driving w hat we are m easuring? And finally, there are some suggestions on w hat needs to be done to change the current balance of how interests are represented. Michael Oppenheimer proposes a threefold solution to the challenge. Jim Hanson writes about how to communicate the climate story in an understandable fashion. 878 social...


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