Introduction to Environmental Politics

This course introduces major concepts within environmental studies in order to provide a general understanding of environmental politics and policy in present-day American society. We focus first on the emergence of environmental thought in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, then examine major milestones such as the founding of the National Park Service, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Finally, after reviewing significant policy debates of the 1980’s and 1990’s, we survey interdisciplinary approaches to climate change. Throughout the course, we pay particular attention to the socio-economic forces and factors involved in the making of environmental problems and solutions, exploring how prevailing assumptions about government and markets shape environmental crises, policy responses, and the prospects for genuine progress.

Course Objectives
At the end of this course, students should come away with a general understanding of the historical, political, economic, and social dimensions of environmental politics and policies in the U.S., as well as an ability to integrate basic concepts in environmental science into evidence-based analyses of environmental problems, regulations, and policy debates.

Link to UMass Lowell Course Catalog: POLI.1750 Introduction to Environmental Politics*

Link to course materials and syllabus: Intro to Environmental Politics

* Offered each fall as foundational course for the Environment & Society Minor