David Mytton

Book Review (2/5) – The short guide to environmental policy (Carolyn Snell, Gary Haq)

Published (updated: ) in Book Reviews.

Originally published on Goodreads.

This short guide does a good job at summarising the key considerations of environmental policy at the time it was written, but misses out some key trends which were emerging (and have become more relevant in recent time). Indeed, the book specifically excludes them:

Eco anarchist, deep ecologist, eco socialist, and eco feminist approaches (to name just a few) offer different perspectives regarding the nature of the environment and the human–environment relationship, and often question existing social, economic and policy norms. While these perspectives provide an interesting insight into debates around the ambition and effectiveness of current policies, whether they have substantially influenced policy within liberal democracies is perhaps questionable (Carter, 2007) and it is beyond the scope of this guide to consider this.

It is perhaps unfair to criticise the book for developments subsequent to its publication but many of these trends towards other approaches and perspectives to debating environmental challenges were growing at the time it was written. Further, the development of what the book calls “the ‘techno-centric’ approach” is crucial to discussion of these policy topics today and is unfortunately missing any detailed analysis. Unfortunately, I think the result is that this book is now quite out of date and only relevant to give a baseline understanding of what the policy questions were in the past.