Environmental management tends to define natural systems as a resource base for human use thus failing to address the question as to whether humans have the wisdom to manage the natural systems by which they are sustained and by which they were engendered. This perspective is characterized by a strict conservation position that calls for a better management of present development practices so as to reduce adverse environmental impacts to a minimum. A technical approach to environmental problems is stressed. This approach lacks a historical perspective and does not see environmental work as a tool to produce historical changes. Relationships with other social initiatives is minimal and little attention is given to reflection on such questions. There is a tendency to deal with symptoms rather than with the causes of the problems addressed.
There is a misfit between the motivations of the nature advocate and the tools of the environmental movement. Many persist in believing that techniques are value-neutral and can be put to any use. The tools of resource management require an assumption of the existence of resources. But resources are simply human categories, indices of utility to industrial society. They say nothing of experiential value or intrinsic worth. The predominance of "resourcism" tempts us to try to translate any sensed value into resource terms and thus to save by subterfuge what could not be protected by argument. The original value is effectively eliminated in the transformation from experience to commodity.