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Management of Local Environmental Projects

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Studies
Wordcount: 2402 words Published: 19th Sep 2017

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There are various methods or approaches that can be used to manage local environmental projects through the implementation of environmental management measures with varying degrees of success and effectiveness. The methods and approaches used to manage local environmental projects can vary due to the objectives, active group membership, and the actual geographical location of those environmental projects. The scale and objectives of local environmental projects can vary greatly, ranging from short-term projects with a single objective such as regenerating a polluted area or on longer- term projects with many objectives. These environmental projects will range from those with a few volunteer members to those that could involve hundreds of people and rely on links between pressure groups, volunteers, and local or even national government. Since environmental projects started to emerge from the late 1960s as concern began to grow about the ecological impact of human economic activities methods of environmental project management have evolved. For ecologists the planning and implementation of local environmental projects has always been a major part of their strategy as a means of empowering local communities to improve their quality of life whilst helping the local environment. Local environmental projects had the advantage of not being controlled by government or businesses and could be regarded as an important strand of the social movements that emerged almost simultaneously with the ecology movement. Local environmental projects represented and still represent an alternative economic, social and political outlook upon life and how irresponsible material gain should not be the primary objective of governments and societies (Eatwell & Wright, 2003 p. 233).

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Every environmental project should certainly consider the need for project management, whether on a full time, part time, or consultancy basis to maximise the ecological impact of the project. When it comes to protecting the world’s environment people often assume that national governments have the largest role to play in adopting measures to slow down or even reverse ecological damage. However, everybody has an individual responsibility to do their bit to protect their local environment. Environmental projects in theory and frequently in practice have shown that as individual projects they have a limited impact upon the global environment yet if the affects of all the environmental projects were added together they are far from being insignificant (Eatwell & Wright, 2003 p. 234). Modern economic practices tend to emphasise that projects and economic activities at the local level are largely insignificant in comparison to regional, national, and international economic trends or decisions. That is not actually the case as much that has been achieved at protecting the environment has been influenced by or implemented by local environmental projects. Local environmental projects can help to change the widely held belief that only multinational corporations and national governments make a difference to the environment as ‘what cannot be measured is of no importance’ (Porritt, 1984 pp. 43-4).

The people that manage local environmental projects have to consider several factors once it has been decided to start their environmental project. Unlike the earliest local environmental projects there are now a variety of government, non-governmental and business funding resources available that means people that are involved in local environmental projects do not have to meet the costs of running or working on their environmental projects. That is an important consideration when many environmental project workers could be unemployed or volunteers, the majority of local environmental projects would not be able to function if their workers and volunteers were forced by financial necessity to work elsewhere. For local and community environmental projects that are intended to have a long term future having a skilled environmental project manager that has the knowledge and the experience to attract funding is without doubt essential. An effective environmental project manager came make all the difference between continuing the project for the benefit of the local community and the environment, or the project closing down through lack of funding or volunteers. Funding can come in the form of grants made by central and local government, grants made by non-governmental organisations such as the National Lottery, or through business sponsorship or endorsements. In certain circumstances local and community environmental projects could be used as contractors or sub-contractors to achieve the policies of local and national government. Businesses may genuinely want to help to protect the local environment or they may just want to gain some positive publicity for themselves. Whatever peoples underlying reasons for supporting local and community environmental projects it is clearly in everybody’s self –interest to assist any projects that can protect their local environment (Jackson, 1996 pp. 181-3).

As well as staffing levels and funding local environmental projects and their managers should also consider the resources that they need to operate effectively with and whether they can use sustainable resources or not. Local environmental projects may only be on a small barely detectable scale when the global environment is considered as a whole yet they can prove significant at the local level. If every local community could decrease its consumption levels when added together that could have highly beneficial results (Redcliffe, 1996 p. 91). Local and community environmental projects should be projects that effectively manage their resources so that they can limit environmental damage and help prevent or possibly reverse pollution levels within their respective communities. Local and community environmental projects should be evaluated to judge how their resource requirements could be met through sustainable resources, recycling, and the conservation of energy. Local and community environmental projects for instance should try to keep their use of paper, energy, and water to a minimum so as to reduce pollution (Chokar, Pandya, & Raghunathan, 2004 p. 137).

Thus all local environmental projects where possible should promote greener forms of energy consumption, and transport to improve the environment in their local area. There have not always been enough reasons for local and community environmental projects to proceed as the scientific proof of environmental decline was not widely or publicly accepted (Redcliffe, 1996 p. 136). If practical projects should attempt to use renewable energy sources either by selecting a renewable energy supplier or finding ways to operate their own power supplies (Chokar, Pandya, & Raghunathan, 2004 p. 122). Ironically enough local and community environmental projects can become more effective and numerous as a result of national directives or legislation to protect and in some cases to conserve the environment (Jackson, 1996 p.173). Local authorities can help improve the environment in their local areas by promoting traffic free zones and encouraging greener transport use. They could even consider helping local and community environmental projects by assisting those projects in using cycles and promoting walking (Vaz, 1999 p. 99).

Local and community environmental projects should also help to protect the local and community environment by recycling as much as possible. Not only is recycling helping to improve environmental sustainability it could also be an extra source of income for some local and community environmental projects depending upon the volume of material recycled. Recycling has the added benefits of reducing the levels of waste and pollution in local communities. The management of local environmental project needs to evaluate the ease of travel to the site of the environmental project. Consideration has to be made for people to walk, cycle or use public transport to reach the environmental project, either as workers, volunteers, or visitors. Transport issues can be more significant if the local and community environmental project is in a rural area with less public transport and greater distances for people to travel to it. Persuading people to walk or cycle to the environmental project would help to reduce the vehicle exhaust emissions that increase pollution and acts as a major cause of health conditions such as asthma. Reduced levels of pollution are good for local communities, less pollution brings public health, and economic benefits to those areas compared to other areas were there has been no environmental projects established and operating at all (Vaz, 1999 p. 158).

Environmental project managers can gain funding, volunteers and workers for their projects through various channels. Gaining the support of the local community could be just as important for long-term success and continuation as obtaining direct funding can be. Local and community environmental project managers could attract supporters and volunteers by arranging publicity in the local press and television coverage to make people aware of the environmental project and its objectives for improving the environment in the local area. Public awareness can lead to people donating to the project, working for the project, or it can make them adjust their individual behaviour to help the local environment by themselves (Redcliffe, 1996 p.136). Publicity campaigns if well judged or well timed could make the local environmental project newsworthy and with increased support or influence within the local community it is there to help. As well as press releases and articles in local newspapers local and community environmental project workers have found forging relationships with local schools, colleges, and youth organisations is beneficial. Such relationships can prove useful in raising the profile of their local and community environmental project; managers believe it useful in the gaining of workers or volunteers in the present and the future. Local and community environmental projects can form close links with schools, colleges, and youth groups by organising visits to those places or arranging for these groups to visit the environmental project. Project managers could also consider the option of allowing school children to go on projects as part of their work experience training or placement. Recruiting students at college or university could be another source of workers or volunteer as well as recruiting local people from the community (Vaz, 1999 p. 158).

Increasing the number of people that visit local and community environmental projects potentially has legal consequences for the management of such projects to worry about. The local and community environmental projects management have to consider that they are legally responsible for the health and safety of everybody that works for, volunteers for, or simply visits their environmental projects. Managers should establish whether any of the materials, waste products, or working practices carried out as part of the projects are dangerous or detrimental to the health and safety of anybody linked to those projects. Before cleaning up pollution managers should check that all work does not contravene health and safety considerations (Jackson, 1996 p.55). Legal liability in the event of accidents could prove costly and lead to the closure of environmental projects that are inadequately insured. Local and community environmental projects especially if they work closely with local government and central government departments may have contractual arrangements that can only be broken or unfulfilled at the cost of legal action been taken or threatened. With local and community environmental projects often needing public funding or believing they need it, the cost of losing such contracts could be financially hard hitting for environmental projects. Environmental projects could also be victims to changes in political policy decision making which might decide to reduce the funding available for environmental projects (Vaz, 1999 p. 138).

A good example of a local and community environmental project that has benefited or could benefit from the use of project managers was the Colchester Local Food Project. The Colchester Local Food Project had two distinct objectives. Firstly the Colchester Local Food Project attempted to increase the profile and sales of organically grown products from the Colchester area. Organic farming has obvious environmental advantages, for instance not using artificial fertilisers and pesticides that cause pollution and health problems if not used properly. The other part of the project was to help keep the local farms in business by establishing a Farmers’ market for the local area. The environmental benefits of conventional farming techniques may not be as obvious as organic farming yet farming would cause less damage to the local environment than building new homes or industrial sites on the land. Environmental project managers could have brought benefits to the scheme by finding funding for the organic growers and farmers, as well as advice in producing the local food directories and promoting the Farmer’s market. The actual project ran from June 2003 through to December 2004 with the directories helping to improve awareness and food sales (www.en-form.supanet.com).


Chokar K B, Pandya M, & Raghunathan M, (2004) Understanding Environment, Sage Publications, New Delhi, Thousand Oaks and London

Eatwell R & Wright A, (2003) Contemporary Political Ideologies 2nd Edition, Continuum, London

Jackson T, (1996) Material Concerns – Pollution, Profit and quality of life, Routledge, London and New York

Porritt J, (1984) Seeing Green: the politics of ecology explained, Blackwell, Oxford

Redcliffe M, (1996) Wasted – Counting the costs of Global Consumption, Earthscan, London

Vaz K, (1999) Cities for the future, Hansib Publications Limited, London



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