Criteria For Environmental Decision Making
This article suggests six criteria for evaluating environmental decisions: human and environmental well-being; competence about facts and values; fairness in process and outcome; a reliance on human strengths rather than weaknesses; the opportunity to learn; and efficiency.
This paper suggests that the criteria for a “good” collective decision include:
- Human and environmental well-being: Decisions about the environment are intended to achieve some balance between human well-being and the well-being of the environment, including other species.
- Competence about facts and values: A good decision should take account of the scientific information available and also consider the uncertainties inherent in science.
- Fairness in process and outcome: Fairness suggests that all those having an interest in or affected by a decision should have a say in that decision, though it is unclear how fairness can be implemented in environmental controversies that involve large numbers of people.
- Relying on human strengths, not weaknesses: Good decision processes should rely on what humans do well and not presume to apply things that humans cannot do well.
- A chance to learn: Good decision processes are social processes and will require opportunities for both factual and value learning. Providing information about how policies are working can change public views about policy and how the world works.
- Efficiency: Resources should be used as efficiently as possible, although efficiency is only one criterion for making decisions. We should be cautions to not let what we can quantify dominate what we cannot, since not all factors can be assessed.