Environmental protection

What Is Environmental Protection

Environmental protection can be defined as the prevention of unwanted changes to ecosystems and their constituent parts. This includes

  • the protection of ecosystems and their constituent parts from changes associated with human activities; and
  • the prevention of unwanted natural changes to ecosystems and their constituent parts.

One issue associated with this definition is whether “ecosystems and their constituent parts” include humans and communities, or whether environmental protection is only concerned with the protection of natural capital. From an ecological perspective, humans are regarded as an integral part of the ecosystem. Separating humanity from the natural environment can therefore be seen as artificial. While this is true, the phrase environmental protection is not used to refer to measures that are designed to regulate or mediate direct interaction between people. For example, laws prohibiting assault are not regarded as environmental protection measures. Environmental protection is concerned with the relationship between people and the natural environment rather than the relationships between people and communities.