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Research to Protect, Restore, and Manage the Environment
In describing the cultural and organizational changes, we have avoided details because the legislative and executive branches that have the responsibility and authority to act on the suggestions for change should decide on the details. We have tried to convey the reasoning process that began with an examination of current federal environmental research, proceeded to a description of the desirable characteristics of a program, and concluded with recommended cultural and organizational changes required to achieve the desirable characteristics. We hope that the reasoning will inform the national discussions about how parts of the federal government could be organized to address the aggregate environmental issues facing the nation today. A concluding section of this chapter describes the advantages and disadvantages of the organizational frameworks.
The following are the committee's two chief recommendations:
The cultural changes in the nation's environmental program described below must be implemented if today's and tomorrow's environmental problems are to be addressed. The cultural changes are required, regardless of which organizational structure is decided on.
At a minimum, Framework A (current agency structure with enhancements) should be implemented. If the nation is to make marked improvements in the quality and strength of its environmental research and policy, we urge that the Department of the Environment described in Framework D be established.
The cultural changes we recommend will strengthen the nation's environmental research, correct specific weaknesses, and recognize that research should enlarge our comprehension of and ability to observe the components of the environment, deepen our understanding of how transfers of energy and materials occur among components, and improve our knowledge of the interactions among components. Fundamental advances in knowledge and understanding are needed to grasp and solve urgent environmental problems.
Chapter 4 describes the desirable characteristics of an effective national environmental research program. These desirable characteristics were used by the committee as it defined the necessary cultural changes. Among the most important expectations are a focus on protection, restoration, and management of natural resources as the critical directions for environmental