Public policy embodies an assortment of value systems. While individual value systems express coherent, consistent approaches, public policy expresses an amalgam of values, with corresponding decrease in coherence/consistency. This course explores the relationships between various environmental values and public policy through analysis of policy issues at local, state, and national levels.
Students in this course reflect on and refine their own approach to environmental ethics through a close examination of a set of current environmental issues. They develop skills in detecting the value systems presently underlying public policy as expressed in laws, administrative regulations, and government action. Discussion and presentations by participants and by outside speakers who are professionals in the field will give insight into the challenges of meeting stakeholder expectations and forging a coherent, effective approach to environmental challenges. Issues such as water protection/preservation in the Great Lakes Basin, the sustainability and survivability of endangered species, the management of wildlife in rural, suburban, and urban areas, and formulation of energy policy will provide the basis for investigation.
Grades for the course will be determined on the basis of midterm and final exams, paper/project, and class participation. Two papers: initial paper (1000 words) in which students articulate the environmental value system with which they most resonate; and 2) a reflective paper (~1800 words) in which students analyze an important piece of legislation/policy in terms of the environmental values embodied within and suggest revisions to reflect their preferred value system. Since the course fulfills ULWR, papers/project will require preliminary submission of a draft which will be returned with comments for further editing and submission of the assignment in final form. A group project/presentation will focus on a current policy discussion.
The course is designed for upper level PitE and Public Policy students prepared for seminar work and a high degree of participatory leadership in class.
Seminar 3 hours a week