Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation
Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation 2017;15:194-8 DOI: 10.1016/j.pecon.2017.06.006
Research Letters
Beyond the mining pit: the academic role in social deliberation for participatory environmental planning
João Carlos de Castro Penaa,b,, , Julia Camara de Assisc,d,e, Rafaela Aparecida da Silvad,e, Laura Kyoko Hondac,d,e, Maria Inez Paganie, Milton Cezar Ribeiroc,e
a Laboratório de Ornitologia, Departamento de Zoologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
b Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia, Conservação e Manejo de Vida Silvestre, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
c Laboratório de Ecologia Espacial e Conservação, Departamento de Ecologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Rio Claro, São Paulo, Brazil
d Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia e Biodiversidade, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Rio Claro, São Paulo, Brazil
e Departamento de Ecologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Rio Claro, São Paulo, Brazil
Received 30 November 2016, Accepted 15 June 2017
Abstract

Although mining activities are required to supply human needs, the academic participation on the allocation and planning of mining activities is reduced. We presented our experience in the participatory review of Rio Claro's (São Paulo, Brazil) master plan. In 2015, Rio Claro City Hall triggered a multi-agent discussion about new perspectives on local environmental planning to improve human life quality. Representatives of economic sectors were invited for public consultations, while civil society was neglected. The academic participation was represented by amendment proposals that intended to represent common interests of society (e.g.: reducing the impacts of clay extraction on the population). We discuss the need of greater appreciation of university outreach initiatives for their high impact on public issues. Academia may ensure an equitable balance of interests between different sectors of society, aiding in the pursuit of quality of life improvement and natural resources preservation for future generations.

Keywords
Environmental planning, Master Plan, Mining impacts, Participatory process, Rio Claro