DEFINITION of ‘Environmental Impact’
Environmental impact is a broad term used to describe the effect that the activities of industry and people, in general, have on the environment at large. In project management, we often have to perform an environmental impact assessment to ensure our clients’ liabilities are adequately managed. Impacts exist in everything from agriculture and air pollution to zinc and zebra mussels.
BREAKING DOWN ‘Environmental Impact’
Many of the solutions we’ve found for our ever growing population have had enormously negative consequences leading to environmental depletion and destruction. Hydro-electric dams (1) are a cleaner alternative to generating stations burning fossil fuels (2) however they aren’t by any means environmentally friendly. Dams have caused tremendous damage both up and down stream of their constructions. In another case, hydraulic fracturing (3) has led to the discovery of billions of gallons of fuel, driving fuel prices down substantially. Unfortunately, in the regions where the gas extraction technique has been used, the surrounding communities have been destroyed thanks to waste-water and air pollution. When considering human impacts on the environment, one must look at everything from agriculture to energy, mining, transport, manufacturing, and even war; the possibilities are too numerous to list in detail. In general, before executing a plan, an environmental impact assessment is vital to understand and help minimize the negative consequences of our actions.