|Taking Action - An Environmental Guide for You and Your Community (UNEP, 1995, 244 p.)|
The last two decades have witnessed a remarkable public awakening, there has been revolution in awareness and understanding of environmental issues, a growing sense of urgency, a knowledge that environmental protection is not the luxury of the rich, a realization that we share one, finite earth and that all of us are responsible for what happens to it. A growing number of people - ordinary citizens, executives, government officials, religious leaders, and journalists - are beginning to recognize that their long-term aims and activities and environmental conservation are mutually dependent, not mutually exclusive.
Around the world, people of every culture and political persuasion are organizing - to plant trees in Kenya, to protect watersheds and mangrove swamps in the Philippines, to demand dependable water supplies and sanitation in India.
They have realized that many global environmental problems are rooted in local environmental conditions and that action at the local level is often the first step toward a global solution.
Sustaining this revolution is the greatest challenge before us.
Taking Action: A Guide for You and Your Community has been prepared as a stimulus for action. It has been designed to enable ordinary citizens and communities overcome obstacles to environmental protection by providing basic facts about environment, by demonstrating how these problems affect the lives of citizens, by proposing alternative solutions based on the best information available and by suggesting how individuals and groups can participate in achieving sustainable solutions.
Overall, the theme of this manual is in line with the message conveyed by Article 10 of the Rio Declaration which stated that, Environmental issues are best handled with the participation of all concerned citizens, at the relevant level. At the national level, each individual shall have appropriate access to information concerning the environment that is held by public authorities, including information on hazardous materials and activities in their communities, and the opportunity to participate in decision-making processes. The theme is also in line with the prominence given in Agenda 21 to the critical role of the Major Groups in society for the changes that must be made in our consumption and production patterns if we are to conserve the environment.
The manual which you hold in your hands is just a book. It describes the problems and suggests solutions, but it calls upon you to provide the action. After all, the decisions we make daily as consumers, as professionals and even as parents and home-makers can shape the world our children and grand-children will inherit.
My challenge to you is to use the tools provided by this book in explaining environmental issues to the communities in which you work to enable even ordinary citizens to attempt practical and cost-effective solutions in enhancing their environment.
United Nations Environment Programme