Political Economy of the Environment (PEC4215.01)

Robin Kemkes

How do we best manage the world’s ecosystems to support our economy, livelihoods and well-being? This course will use the tragedy of the commons as a framework to examine pressing socio-ecological dilemmas such as climate change, declining ocean fisheries, water pollution and biodiversity loss. We will explore a variety of policies, programs and governance structures for overcoming the problem of collective action and assess whether they meet the goals of efficiency, equity, sustainability and safety. Concepts such as public goods, common pool resources, scale, definitions of sustainability and decision-making under uncertainty will be covered. Furthermore, different types of power influence environmental decision-making and outcomes. Who benefits and who loses from these decisions? We will discuss how environmental justice populations are impacted in the U.S. and globally using examples of exposure to toxics, disaster vulnerability and food security. Throughout the course students will be asked to analyze real-world examples of socio-ecological dilemmas in class discussions and in small groups. For the final project, students will pair up and choose a topic of interest – either a local issue, a current event or a global concern. Each group will share their analysis of the topic with the class through a final presentation.

Prerequisites: Previous work in the social sciences and permission of the instructor.
Credits: 4
W 2:10pm-6:00pm
Maximum Enrollment: 16
Course Frequency:
This course is categorized as All courses, Four Credit, 4000, Political Economy, Robin Kemkes, and tagged , , , , .