International Association for Impact Assessment


  • Presenter(s): Michael Edelstein

    Recorded: 19 JUL 2017

    Psycho-Social Impact Assessment (PSIA) is historically underutilized. Its absence partially explains why affected publics so often feel that their issues are not addressed in the EIA process. Valid assessment and appropriate testimony are required for weight to be given the issue when decisions are made. 

    This webinar addressed how people are victimized by adverse environmental change: transformative development including industrialization, resource extraction and intrusive infrastructure, community and bioregional contamination, loss of the integrity and sacredness of place and the experience of acute and chronic disasters and their sequelae, including those attributable to climate change. Many such impacts have multiple causes and are cumulative. 

    The presentation covered well-tested theory and a reliable method for conducting PSIA on vulnerable populations and includes analysis of Environmental Justice (EJ) and impacts to indigenous people. Diverse case studies were presented. 

    The webinar is intended for a wide audience. Methods reflect approaches shared by most social sciences and within reach of citizen scientists. The topic has importance for professionals from all fields involved with EIA, including lawyers, jurists and government officials. 

    Presenter Michael R. Edelstein, Ph.D. has been doing PSIA since the 1970's, preparing research and expert testimony for administrative hearings and toxic tort litigation and to influence government policy and practice. He has focused on human impacts from exposure to environmental contamination and significant environmental degradation, including siting of hazardous facilities. He has worked on such diverse issues as nuclear waste disposal, tar sands upgrading and gas extraction, nuclear disaster, community contamination and the Aral Sea disaster. Since 1974, Edelstein has been Professor of Environmental Psychology at Ramapo College of New Jersey where he regularly courses on EIA. He has been President of the NGO, Orange Environment, Inc., since 1982.

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