Monday, 12 May 2008

Heavenly holism

  • Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM): The Holy Grail?

The integration of "conservation objectives with sustainable social and economic development goals."

Richard Girling: Sea Change, 2007

Holistic management is the goal of all coastline managers; to overcome stakeholder conflict, and integrate environmental, social and economic objectives to preserve a healthy coastline. As someone with a knowledge of the significance and meaning of words, "conservation," "economic goals" and "development" do not necessarily sit comfortably together. Does this imply that as long as conservation does not impede or restrict economic and social development, then the environment will be offered protection; if on the other hand, development is hindered will the environment be ignored? In a society governed by spin, it tastes suspicious! It is understandable that a society desires economic safety and stability, but in an era when climate change, a undeniable result of society's need to develop and grow, dominates the political and daily landscape, surely it is time to rethink our attitude to developing; not necessarily putting the gear into total reverse, but employing some of the ethics of even fifty years ago, to survive. For example; community vegetable allotments to restrict the need for importing food, or holidaying in the UK.

"Sustainable," and "development," are two words, which seem destined to be unable to sit together in harmony; they are at opposite ends of a spectrum filled with words, beginning with money, ending with "fat cat!" Where there is development, there is a want of making money; and where there is a want of money, there is a disregard for anyone, or anything that might avert the path to making it. This is not to say that all developers are ignorant of the impact they may have on the environment. It is similar to proposing building sustainable eco-friendly tourism industries in developing countries- great, so when you get there the impact on the environment is minimal, but how did you get there exactly? By plane! It is these details, and contrary principles that make the world of ICZM so difficult to comprehend. The basis for its reasoning is sound, but in practice can it ever be truly successful?

Defra report on the implementation of ICZM in the UK