Steingard, D., Fitzgibbons, D. & Heaton, D. (1998).
Proceedings of the 1998 Conference, International Association of Business Disciplines, El Paso, Texas.
Within the organization and management disciplines, there is growing recognition of the imperative to address ecological concerns. But leaders within the environmental management movement are also recognizing that management — measuring and manipulating the environment as an abstract, objectified economic resource — has been the very cause of ecological degradation. The term environmental management (EM), then, seems to be an oxymoron. Is it possible to manage the environment in a way that moves from disrupting to restoring the natural balance in eco-human relations? Natural Law-based Environmental Management (NLBEM) is offered as a rebalancing complement to the incomplete paradigm of EM.
We present the viewpoint that Natural Law, the intelligence which maintains order and progress in the physical world, is inherent in our own consciousness. The complementary paradigm of NLBEM, when enlivened in the consciousness of the EM manager or researcher, enables him or her to spontaneously promote balance and sustainability in eco-human relations.
The objective approach of modern science has been successful in gaining knowledge about various parts of the multifarious yet integrated workings of nature. Objective science has given us technologies that achieve specific ends but necessarily, because they are based on partial knowledge, produce unfortunate side-effects. Because of the far-reaching and potentially irreversible impacts of technology, at this time in the world it is essential that objective science be complemented by subjective science, which provides knowledge of the holistic value of Natural Law.
In the sections of this paper that follow, we first analyze how environmental management inherits from the management disciplines a dualistic separation of organization and environment. We then review recent thinking at the frontiers of environmental management that reaches beyond this division toward a new paradigm of unity of humankind and nature. Integral to this new thinking is the notion of a change in consciousness — more than a change in what we know — rather, a change in how we know. This sets the stage for explaining how the integrated wholeness of Natural Law is available in consciousness. We present a vision of how the holistic knowledge of Natural Law, gained subjectively from within, can complement the specific objective knowledge of managers and technologists, enabling them to grow in the creative intelligence of nature, which creates progress without pollution.