Environmental Assessment or specifically Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) aims to present both the positive and negative effects of any project or action on the environment. In today’s world, countries have to take into consideration the natural, social and economic effects of any development project. Examples of development projects are new roads and bridges, dams, airports, land reclamation, and waste disposal facilities among others. Before projects are given a go signal, whether it be government funded or a private sector enterprise, environmental assessors need to identify and evaluate the short and long term impacts of the project.
Environmental assessment training is provided by a number of organizations around the world. There are in-classroom programs as well as distance learning courses. Below are just some organizations providing EIA training:
- The United Nations Environment Program or UNEP is at the forefront of pushing for training programs related to EIA. In their Environmental Education and Training site unep.org, you can find courses on environmental technology, protection and impact assessment among other services.
- Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment iema.net or IEMA, offers a wide range of training programs that provide individuals with knowledge and skills centering on environmental planning as well as environmental monitoring. They also have Continuing Professional Development (CPD) workshops aimed at keeping the environmental practitioners up-to-date with the latest developments in the area of environmental assessment. The IEMA provides a link to Staffordshire University, which offers EIA distance learning for anyone who wishes to take a course from his or her home or office.
- International Association for Impact Assessment iaia.org With the IAIA, you can find a training database listing all the course topics, instructors, and different institutions offering EIA all over the world. They have a comprehensive training network that provides information, EIA training and resources.
- ETH Zurich ethz.ch prides itself as being a multi-racial research and educational workplace focusing on science and technology. It offers courses related to environmental assessment methodologies.
- Pinchin LeBlanc Environmental Ltd. pinchinleblanc.com, a consulting firm, provides various services pertaining to environmental assessment and management, hazardous materials handling, and more. They also provide individuals in the government and private sector with training programs on environmental site assessment, environmental remediation and baseline study.
- Excel Partnership excel-world.co.uk provides IEMA approved courses on environmental management. They even have a free environmental assessment checklist that companies can use in assessing their environmental management system.
- The following are only three of the many distance learning institutions offering courses related to environmental assessment:
- ACS Distance Education acseduonline.com
- International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation itc.nl
- FindAMasters.com findamasters.com
A number of major colleges and universities all over the world now offer courses related to assessing and managing environmental projects and programs. Go to the official websites of the colleges/universities to check if they offer EIA courses. You can also find out from your country’s environmental protection agency if they offer EIA training.
With global warming continuing to threaten the quality of life of everyone on the planet, knowledge of environmental assessment for existing and proposed projects is necessary. This is a step in mitigating the negative effects that a project or program will have on the environment, which in turn affects human lives and the health of the planet.