“Environmental Politics and Policy”, Idaho State University, since 2007

  • Lecturer: Donna Lybecker
  • Program: Political Science
  • Duration: one semester, 150m per week, Bachelor and graduate level; 25-65 students
  • Focus: Give students a thematic overview of how policy systems have defined and addressed environmental issues, including the following themes: What are Environmental Politics?, Is the U.S. and/or the world in an ecological crisis? What is being done politically to deal with environmental issues?
    Emphasis placed on the changing ideas of what comprises environmental issues, in addition to the role of various actors, the influence of various institutions, and the process and outcome of environmental policies.
  • Course develops critical thinking, effective speaking/writing skills, and fosters a global understanding of environmental politics and policy.
  • Novel approach:
    • Bringing in speakers to debate both sides of controversial issues; novel exercises for students including
    • Developing innovative exercises for students including, for example:
      1. Explain an environmental issue that progressed through the Issue-Attention cycle…
      2. Find something (quote, photo, music…) that exemplifies what you value about the environment and explain why…
      3. Share an example of how media plays a role in the environmental debate…
      4. Debate around local pollution and local involvement in environmental politics…
      5. Discuss how you view international consumption and sustainability and the links to security issues…
  • Student evaluation: students complete a project dealing with sustainability in the community
  • Course evaluation: positive reviews; not all students appreciate the more academic readings (preference for pop-cultural articles)
  • Challenge: difficulty in finding book(s) that encompass the issues