Understanding Environmental Policy by Steven Cohen

Steven Cohen is the director of the Master of Public Administration Program in Environmental Science and Policy at the School for International and Public Affairs and the Earth Institute at Columbia University. If you can follow that last sentence then his new book, ‘Understanding Environmental Policy’ shouldn’t be a problem. In the book Steven Cohen presents a framework for understanding the diverse aspects of environmental problems, and their possible solutions. The high level analysis of environmental problems clearly illustrates the challenges we need to overcome, and lends itself to a broad audience. Through increasingly complex examples, the book resembles an essay on how to think about the environment, and gives an insiders look into the machinations of government policy and the response to environmental issues.Steven Cohen successfully uses current topics to explain the points of his framework, and has identified six areas we need to radically change.

•Improved information about environmental conditions
•Better communication and understanding of that information
•Improved education of environmental professionals
•Creation and analysis of economic policies that lead to sustainable development
•Further advances in environmental analysis, pollution prevention, and mitigating capacity in government and industry
•Expanded development of community based organizations and local institutions of government to operationally define and implement sustainable development strategies.

The book delivers on its title, and provides an excellent perspective for anyone trying to get a handle on environmental issues, and who isn’t? If you get this book it will be dog eared in no time. It is not light reading, but for people interested in the topic, the paperback is worth every penny.