Marginal Gains in Environmental Planning | By Alaina Lipp

Alaina Lipp EPP Report_Page_01

Challenges facing our society’s relationship with the natural world are myriad and imminent. Environmental planners stand at a crucial juncture between man’s historical impacts, society’s current needs, and the needs of future generations. The environmental planner operates within a series of challenges – imperfect information about the nature of this world, insufficient authority to mandate and enforce, and the limit of historical observance of the actions and impacts of humanity’s development to guide intervention. With all of these things to take account of, it’s difficult but necessary to interrupt the cycle of perpetual analysis and make the leap into ac􀆟 on.

We cannot succeed if we do not risk failure. Now that the consequences of the industrial revolution are being felt we cannot wait until we have the most perfect, affordable, equitable, absolute solutions. We should apply any treatments that have a reasonable chance at success and then learn from that success or failure and try again. It’s difficult not to feel the gravity of this responsibility and become paralyzed into inaction, but the only certainty is that if we do nothing and continue to live and impact our planet as we do now our species will go extinct. If one looks at our current situation as a zero sum game, any action that helps society in the right direction is a good action, even if it isn’t perfect.

This report follows the concepts and material covered in the Fall 2017 offering of Environmental Planning Process at the College of Environmental Design and takes them a step or two further. The goal is to ask questions that will stimulate further investigation and generate thesis topics as well as generate suggestions for actions that can be taken by private individuals, educational institutions teaching landscape architecture, and research and publication topics where more investigation is warranted.

To obtain a copy of the report, click here.

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