This is a political science course. It is more ambitious than a survey of environmental problems in the U.S., because problems do not speak for themselves. While environmental problems reflect certain empirical realities about our physical world, they come to our attention through human contests over values. Environmental problems are strategically defined, managed, promoted, and challenged by a complex array of social actors. In a word, environmental problems are ¿political.¿ This course explores the politics underlying the societal decisions we make regarding the environment. The essential question for this course is: Why do some environmental problems rise on governmental agendas while other problems are neglected? Course objectives include 1) developing enduring understanding of the politics affecting our societal environmental decisions; 2) cultivating analytical and research skills that reveal the values, incentives, and strategies of political actors affecting environmental policy; and 3) gaining familiarity with a range of national and regional environmental problems.
Prerequisites: PG 101.