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Environmental Risk Management in South Africa

A guide dealing with adaptive environmental management, decision making, environmental management and risk control. By Mike Mentis

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Author: Mike Mentis

Risk has leapt into the limelight following the recent global financial meltdown and current concern about man-induced global climatic disruption.

How might we identify, prioritize and control the gravest threats to health, wellbeing and the life-support processes of the biosphere?

ERM in SA guides the use of the science of uncertainty to safeguard our environment, business projects and existing infrastructure. It advocates an expeditious procedure to direct inevitably finite resources of budget, manpower and time at containing the biggest risks.

The book is for the consultant, the government official, the business manager, the student and anyone interested in the biosphere.

 What others say

Environmental assessment in South Africa has become a well established field of work that aims to address the impacts of development on people and the environment. The process of environmental assessment is guided by legislation, policy and IEM guidelines and plays a dominant role in environmental decision making in the country. Recently, however, the value of conducting environmental assessments that do not adequately address sustainability and environmental risk, has been questioned. Environmental assessments are often costly and inefficient and they do not always result in improving the sustainability of projects and the environment.

Mike Mentis’s book ‘Environmental Risk Management in South Africa’ is an important and timeous addition to the literature on environmental management and environmental risk analysis in South Africa, as it focuses on what is essential ‘to get right’ in environmental assessment. Mentis argues that using resources efficiently and ensuring that the greatest risks and problems are addressed and mitigated should be the focus of what we are doing. He strongly supports an approach of ‘less is more’ and his book thoughtfully outlines the steps and procedures that can be adopted to ensure that we conduct environmental risk assessments in a meaningful way that will have significant and useful outcomes.

Mentis uses the wealth of experience he has developed over the years to create a book that is both theoretical and applied. The examples he uses are extremely helpful and they make the book interesting and accessible. He deals directly with issues that need to be changed in environmental assessment in South Africa, and his straight and honest approach adds value to the arguments constructed in the text. His work is critical and thought provoking, while providing detailed guidance on how to proceed with environmental risk assessment in the South African context.

Mentis’s book will be very useful to academics and students in the field of environmental management, as well as those practicing environmental management and assessment.

Cathy Sutherland, Academic Co-ordinator of Development Studies Programme and lecturer, School of Development Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal


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