349Stal08sGlobal - PSC 349: Global Environmental Politics...

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DePaul University, Spring, 2008 1 : MWF, 10:50-11:50 a.m., Levan 402 Instructor’s office : 990 Fullerton, Room 2107 Office Hours: Wed. & Fri., 1:00 pm.-2:30 p.m. and by appointment Phone: (773) 325.4179 Email: pstalley@depaul.edu : This course introduces you to the political dimensions of global environmental governance. We will begin by examining the main approaches and theoretical concepts used to understand global environmental issues. During this time we will explore some fundamental questions to help you determine your own views about the nature of global environmental challenges. Can free markets and economic growth solve environmental problems or is free-market capitalism the very source of the planet’s environmental challenges? Do strains on natural resources constitute an impending crisis or is there a tendency within the environmental community to overstate the seriousness of environmental challenges? To what extent should environmental principles such as sustainable development guide public policy? In the second part of the course, we will explore some of the overarching issues in global environmental politics. Many of these topics involve the relationship between the industrialized North and the developing South. We will ask questions such as: does free trade hurt or harm the environment? Do we need a World Environmental Organization to offset the influence of the World Trade Organization? What is the relationship between environmental scarcity and conflict? We will finish the class by looking at specific environmental issues, including population growth, air pollution, global warming, and the protection of biodiversity. The aim will be to introduce the issues and assess the international institutions currently governing the protection of these resources. This course has two goals. The first is to familiarize you with the main issues, questions, and debates in global environmental politics. The second is to help each of you enhance your critical thinking skills. I am less concerned with the content of your environmental views than with the process through which you draw your conclusions. You can decide that ecological degradation is the single most important issue in international relations, one among many important challenges, or an over-hyped claim of “gloom and doom” environmentalists. What is most important is that you examine arguments—both your own and others’—with a critical eye. This involves exploring underlying assumptions, presenting evidence to support your claims, considering alternative points of view, and thinking through the implications of your conclusions. I hope that this course will give you the tools necessary to engage in this kind of analytical thinking and so become critical thinkers about environmental politics. Reading Materials
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349Stal08sGlobal - PSC 349: Global Environmental Politics...

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