This paper offers an evaluation of selected Canadian environmental assessment (EA) processes to reveal the extent to which they facilitate mutual learning by EA participants. The evaluation criteria were derived from transformative learning, which presents a comprehensive theory of how adults learn. Data collection methods were document review and semistructured qualitative interviews. A primary area of strength of the EA processes examined was in the provision of accurate and complete information. Other areas of strength were found in selected dimensions of openness to alternative perspectives, equal opportunity to participate and opportunity to have arguments evaluated in a systematic fashion. Conspicuous weaknesses were evident in structuring processes to be free from coercion and providing equal opportunity to participate. Deficiencies were also found in dimensions of the provision of accurate and complete information and opportunities to critically reflect upon presuppositions. Consideration of process deficiencies illuminated areas for EA reform to facilitate mutual learning by all participants.
Environmental Impact Assessment Review – Elsevier
Published: Mar 1, 2001
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