The Environment as a Commons: How Should It Be Managed?
This chapter discusses the environmental issues as the management of different types of commons. A characteristic of environmental resources such as forests, atmosphere, rivers, fisheries, and grazing land are that they are commons shared among community. Commons are used and enjoyed by all and have a tendency to be overused because of the lack of proper management rules, and easily deteriorate as a result of the lack of people to manage them. Generally, commons could be described as local or global, and different approaches should be adopted for different types of commons. For local commons such as public parks and village forests, it is possible to avoid excessive use by creating management rules, if the number of parties involved is not too large. Global commons are more difficult to manage because of the large number of parties involved and their conflicting interests, and require international rules such as treaties for their management. Although biodiversity issues are more related to the local community level, there is growing awareness that biodiversity should be managed as a global issue, and international treaties have been created to address this issue. Environmental resources such as the atmosphere and the oceans are often used as a common dumping ground for waste such as air and water pollutants and greenhouse gases. Facilities such as waste incineration plants and nuclear power plants could be viewed as negative commons as they are necessary for public benefit but citizens do not like to have them near their home.
KeywordsLocal Common International Treaty Public Park Incineration Plant Common Land
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