New Center's Focus is on Environmental Governance
November 29, 2010

This summer’s Gulf of Mexico oil rig disaster, Exxon Valdez oil spill, Three Mile Island disaster, and the cleanup in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, are dramatic events that drew attention to environmental issues which galvanized people to address the issue after it occurred. Instead of waiting until the next crisis to resolve potential environmental issues, the new Center for Environmental Policy at American University, aims to evaluate and improve the capacity for the United States to address environmental challenges through effective governance.

“Our focus is on environmental governance,” said Dan Fiorino, the inaugural director of the Center for Environmental Policy. “We’re not a hardcore scientific organization, and we’re not purely an economic organization. We’re focusing on how we as a society make different decisions, how we engage different people, how we use information. I’m hoping that we will be able to identify issues or areas of policy where we can have constructive dialogue.”

In order to meet the environmental challenges of the coming decades, make the right policy choices, and seize the opportunities that will develop, worldwide government, business, nonprofits, and nongovernmental organizations must avoid zero-sum thinking.

The center, which launched this fall, will sponsor programs for sharing information, perspectives, and experience in addition to allowing guests to conduct analysis and research on how the nation may more effectively address environmental challenges on national and regional levels. The center’s work focuses on three areas of environmental policy: environmental innovation, partnerships and collaboration, and new and emerging problems.

American University is located in Washington, D.C.

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