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1.1 Entitlements and obligations

Informal conversation with nature invokes intuitive ideas about human understanding and appreciation of value. The conversation develops practical ideas about how our entitlements affect our access to, and our relationships with, other constituents of the natural world. It also helps us to develop a sense of obligation towards the natural world. These less formalised aspects of responsibility are shaped by, and give shape to, the more codified rights and duties that provide guidance on our re
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Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should be able to:

  • describe environmental matters regarding obligation and entitlements from a ‘caring’ perspective;

  • appreciate the significance of environmental consequentialist ethics in conversations around developing care;

  • identify and compare formal and less formal expressions of environmental responsibility;

  • understand ‘accountability’ in the context of environmental issues;

  • ide
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7.4 Closing thoughts

Of course, doing anything about this needs scientific evidence and understanding, but it also requires social, economic and technological changes, which can only be achieved through political will. If you want to explore some of the broader context, a good place to start would be the New Internationalist issue 357, ‘The Big Switch: Climate Change Solutions’ at New Internationalist.

Faced with the sort of predictions climatologists are making, is it sufficient for science teac
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4 Further reading

For information on changes to flora, click on Science magazine.

For changes to fauna, and economic effects, go to Information Sheet 4, or for the paper quoted at the top of the screen, Information Sheet 1, both at Climatic Research Unit.

Click on 'View document' to open the data-smoothing information

1 Natural climate change?

The chart below shows a record of the global mean surface temperature of the Earth compiled for the past 140 years. Clearly there is an upward trend, but what does a chart like this really show?

6 Conclusion

Perhaps it is a truism to say that all life is full of risk. We encounter many uncalculated outcomes, some beneficial and others adverse. It can be difficult to know which adverse events will prove permanently disadvantageous, since some may lead to innovation and opportunities for the future. Businesses, especially in the financial context, often consider risk in terms of opportunities for gain. Risk in our context is a way of describing the probability and consequences of harm, or at worst
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5.3.4 Plan testing and validation

It is one thing to have a plan; it is another thing to have a plan that you can rely on to work. There is an old military maxim that ‘A plan only gets you into first contact with the enemy. After that, you fly by the seat of your pants’ (Anon). A 1993 IBM report on business continuity planning confirmed this when it revealed that ‘half of the plans failed completely or substantially when they were first tested’ (IBM, 1993, p. 5).

The IBM report identified three categories of pla
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5.3.2 Plan auditing

Having got the draft plan, it is worth checking it over to see that all the major issues have been covered. The appendix below contains a set of guidelines for the initial audit of a generic ‘general purpose’ plan. For site-specific plans such as might be produced by an SHE manager in industry, or a business continuity manager for an office complex, the headings may need some modification.

Guidelines for an emergency response plan audit (PDF, 2 pages, 0.1MB)


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5.5 Emergency planning as an organisational management function

If emergency services' EPOs plan to respond to other people's emergencies, people managing a business activity with major incident potential have a different perspective. They have to respond to emergencies within their own organisation. In effect, if an incident occurs, the organisation is itself in a crisis, with functionality impaired. All of this comes into the corporate governance area and the implications of internal control. This requires companies to ensure that they have a sound syst
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5.2 Why plan?

Captain James Lovell chose the title ‘A successful failure’ for an article on the Apollo 13 Lunar Mission. The failure was that the lunar landing was abandoned. The success was that, although an explosion blew a gaping hole in the spacecraft three-quarters of the way to the moon and knocked out the electrical systems as well as the service module's engine, the three astronauts returned safely to Earth. Can you think of a better example of the value of emergency planning?

Two feature
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4.2.1 Comparing the management systems

One approach to BS 8800 follows the ISO 14001 model, and the ISO 14001 system itself was closely modelled on the previous ISO 9000, with the 2000 revision of ISO 9000 following ISO 14001 principles. As a result, you may imagine that there are similarities between the standards. Many of the elements are similar, and some are nearly identical. Management systems share common elements, including developing and documenting procedures, training, record keeping, auditing, and corrective action. Fig
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4.2 Why integrate management systems?

Integrating any management system with the business is essential if progress is to be made, but here we are concerned with integrating management systems with each other.

Managing a business continues to set new challenges and demands especially when viewed against:

  • significant competition;

  • high customer and community expectations;

  • returns on capital employed;

  • regulatory compliance;


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3.2 Multiple causes

Now we will explore multiple causes using an example familiar to us all – road accidents. The deaths of about 10 people each day on the UK's roads are less dramatic than, for example, the capsize of the Herald of Free Enterprise, but one feature that links them both is the element of risk associated with everything we do – and even with inaction.

We have just seen that many factors contribute to the risks which result from the inherent hazards associated with something we do.
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3.1 Types of incident

Now we can progress to an examination of some incidents by studying selected reports and publications.

Returning to the word ‘accident’, we can cite another definition:

An accident is an undesired event which results in physical harm and/or property damage. It usually results from a contact with a source of energy above the threshold limit of the body or structure.

(Kuhlman, 1977, p. 5)


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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • define risk in the most appropriate way, and appreciate the need to prioritise risks;

  • appreciate the costs of illness associated with workplace activities;

  • describe in outline the development of models used to explain the cause of incidents and to promote prevention;

  • recognise the multiple causes contributing to many incidents, and be able to represent them diagrammatically;


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References

Colburn, T., Dumanoski, D. and Myers, J. P. (1996) Our Stolen Future, Little, Brown and Co.

Kishi, M., Hirschorn, N., Djajadisastra, M., Saterlee, L. N., Strowman, S. and Dilts, R. (1995) Relationship of pesticide spraying to signs and symptoms in Indonesian farmers, Scandinavian Journal of Work and Environmental Health, 21 (2), pp. 124– 33.

Wilson, E. O. (1992) The Diversity of Life, The Bellknap Press of the Harvard University Press, Cambridge, USA.


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8 Summary

  • We are biologically predisposed to provide for our offspring and may try to ensure that this provision continues after our death. However, our interactions with other members of society are wide-ranging and many people leave legacies to benefit the wider community.

  • All species alter their environment to some extent because they do not live in isolation from one another. The study of the interactions between plants, animals and their environ
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7 Some philosophical issues

In this unit we have considered global issues that have implications for our health and the health of future generations. This places our own lives in a different context and also indicates the uncertainties that surround the future. Whilst some environmental changes have very direct health consequences, we should not forget the indirect benefits that accrue from a healthy planet. The principle that ‘we should hand on to the next generation an environment no less rich than the one we
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6 Population growth

Earlier it was stated that three factors check population growth. These are predation, disease and insufficient food supply. For much of our history, our ancestors’ numbers were indeed limited by wars, disease and famine. The world population remained relatively stable until around 300 years ago. Then at the beginning of the 19th century (100 years after population growth started its geometric increase), the demographer Thomas Malthus predicted that population growth would outstrip food pro
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5.5 Indoor pollutants

Before leaving air pollution you might reflect that many of us spend most of our time indoors where the air quality can differ from that outside the building.

Question 30

In what ways will the air be different inside a building?


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