Figure 7. Influences on environmental quality. This is a conceptual model of the many influences on environmental quality (EQ), an important component of which is ecological integrity (EI; the orange box). Changes in EQ and EI are detected by monitoring programs, with research being undertaken to understand the causes and consequences of any changes that may be occurring. Results of the monitoring and research programs are objectively interpreted by ecologists and other specialists (although their analysis may be conditioned to some degree by social and cultural influences) and are reported both to the scientific community and the public through using various media (books, journal articles, the Internet, and others). The analyses are also communicated to decision makers in government, who may implement regulations and management actions that affect EQ and EI. Public environmental literacy is another key component—it is achieved through the educational system; by outreach activities of nongovernmental organizations, governmental agencies, and private companies; and by the mass media. Environmental literacy affects social attitudes about the environment, which may result in more-appropriate choices of lifestyle and a public influence on the policies and actions of governments and corporations. Modified from Freedman, 1995.