This course introduces students to the study and practice of global environmental politics, with particular attention to the contribution of international relations scholarship. We begin by exploring some of the key events, concepts, and theories at the foundation of the field before focusing on debates about how to govern the global environment. In particular, we consider multilateral governance approaches, which largely rely on the authority of nation-states, as well as alternative arrangements that increasingly are initiated and led by non-state actors such as NGOs, corporations, local governments and communities. Some of the issues to be addressed include the environmental impacts of different kinds of societies and regimes (developed vs. less developed, capitalist vs. socialist, authoritarian vs. democratic), the roots of political conflict in environmental degradation and resource distribution, and the collective human impact on ecosystems and other species. Above all, we focus on two overarching problems that arguably are most likely to shape our collective future: climate change and energy. Throughout the course, we employ the countries we visit on our voyage as case studies.
Field WorkCountry: Brazil
Day: 1 - Tuesday, 1 November
This lab will tour the Praia de Forte region along the coast north of Salvador. We will begin by visiting the offices of the Garcia D’Avila Foundation, an environmental NGO whose mission includes promoting sustainable tourism, preserving endangered species, and monitoring sensitive habitats. After meeting with staff members to discuss the organization’s work, we will visit the Marine Turtle Research and Preservation Project, which is funded by Greenpeace. Finally, we will explore two local ecosystems—the mangrove forest and the Atlantic forest—in the company of a knowledgeable guide. Learning objectives:
- To learn about the opportunities and challenges of environmental NGOs.
- To visit a local conservation project and two vital forest ecosystems.