Chapter 16: Human wellbeing in environmental management
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Environmental management, a field that emphasizes the sustainable use of air, land, forests, minerals, water, fisheries, and wildlife, requires the integration of human wellbeing for more holistic decision making. Such inclusive thinking has led governments, scientists, and non-profit organizations to adopt a more progressive worldview that approaches humans and social systems as inextricably and equally part of ecosystems in their planning. This chapter describes three pathways through which social and ecological wellbeing have been integrated with example cases. The first pathway we describe is through the integration of international development and tropical conservation by focusing on a capabilities approach. We use the case of Buen Vivir in Ecuador to demonstrate the approach, in which rights to water, food, a healthy environment, cultural identity, and other benefits were legally established in a new constitution and related policies. The second pathway is that of identifying and valuing ecosystem services to humans to develop social and ecological goals in environmental management. The pathway is exemplified through the Puget Sound Partnership in the U.S. that has adopted social and ecological metrics to monitor the status of the regional ecosystem. Lastly, we describe a third pathway of integrating social and ecological goals through public health and green spaces. Global projects associated with Healthy Parks, Healthy people show how public health agencies have teamed with park management agencies in planning and implementation of urban environmental management.

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