Schedule and assignments

Week 1  

Monday, February 12

Welcome to our course.

Wednesday, February 14

The Tragedy of the Commons” Garret Hardin, Science 162 (1968)

A Tale of Two Fisheries.” John Tierney. The New York Times, August 27th, 2000

Friday, February 16: Discussion sections

Discussion of E&E News

Week 2  

Monday, February 19

Layzer, Chapter 1: “A Policymaking Framework: Defining Problems and Portraying Solutions in U.S. Environmental Politics.”

Wednesday, February 21

Alexis de Tocqueville. 1835. Democracy in America (three chapters):
Chapter 5: Of the Uses which the Americans Make of Public Associations
Chapter 6: Of the Relation of Public Associations and the Newspapers.
Chapter 7: Relation of Civil to Political Association

Richard Judd. Common Lands, Common People: The Origins of Conservation in Northern New England. Introduction and Chapter 4: “Common Stewardship and Private Forests.” (ERES)

Friday, February 23: NO CLASS – WINTER CARNIVAL

Week 3

Monday, February 26

Climate Justice Is Racial Justice Is Gender Justice.” Bill McKibben interviews Jacqueline Patterson, the director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program. Yes! magazine, August 18, 2017.

At the Harvard Law Forum: Jacqui Patterson on racism and climate change.The Harvard Law Record. Posted by Pete Davis on November 3, 2017. (Note: this is a 48-minute video.)

Turning Appalachia’s Mountaintop Coal Mines Into Farms.” Catherine V. Moore. Yes! magazine, August 18, 2017.

Wednesday, February 28

Layzer, Chapter 2: “The Nation Tackles Pollution: The Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts.”

Vig and Kraft, Chapter 7: “The Environmental Protection Agency.”  Richard Andrews.


Thursday, March 1 (REQUIRED) – Howard Woodin Colloquium.

“Decarbonizing an Economy: Electricity, Coal, and the Threat of a Good Example.” Frederick Weston ’79, Principal and Director, Global Policy and Strategy, the Regulatory Assistance Project. 12:30 – 1:20 in The Orchard. (Video here.)

Friday, March 2 (meeting with Brenda Ellis)

Paper proposal (including three proposed sources) due in class via Canvas

Week 4

Monday, March 5

Vig and Kraft, Chapter 2: “Racing to the Top, Bottom, or the Middle of the Pack? The Evolving State Government Role in Environmental Protection.”  Barry Rabe.

Wednesday, March 7

Sunshine state shuns solar as overcast New York basks in clean energy boom.” Oliver Milman. March 27, 2017. The Guardian

Why This Tea Party Leader Is Seeing Green on Solar Energy.” Diane Toomey. March 26, 2015. YaleEnvironment360

A Gun-Owning Trump Fan’s New Crusade: Clean Energy.”  Ivan Penn. The New York Times, February 28, 2018.

Minority groups back energy companies in fight against solar power.” Evan Halper. February 9, 2015. Los Angeles Times.

Florida’s Fossil Fuels Are Using Communities Of Color As Political Props.” Danny Glover and Van Jones. November 4, 2016. Huffington Post

Friday, March 9: Discussion sections

Discussion of material to date

Week 5

Monday, March 12

Layzer, Chapter 4 (3rd edition): “Community Activism and Environmental Justice: The Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative.”  (ERES)

How One Boston Neighborhood Stopped Gentrification in its Tracks.” Yes! magazine, January 28, 2015.

Wednesday, March 14

Vig and Kraft, Chapter 8: “Energy Policy: Fracking, Renewables and the Keystone XL Pipeline.” Edward P. Weber, David Bernell, and Hilary S. Boudet.

Exxon, Keystone, and the Turn Against Fossil Fuels.” Bill McKibben. The New Yorker. November 6, 2015.

“The Fight Doesn’t End Until We Stop It at the SourceIndigenous Environmental Network. Interview with Kandi Mosset. August 11, 2017

A new generation of activists, born next to an oil refinery.” Jesse Hardman. High Country News. March 7, 2018

Friday, March 16 (discussion section)

Brief analysis of an E&E News article (submitted on our “FRIDAY material …” Google doc found in the ‘ES211 folder’ on our course hub), answering the question ‘What does this article teach us about social change?’

Review for mid-term

Week 6

Monday, March 19

Midterm exam

Wednesday, March 21

In-class discussion with BIll McKibben

Bill McKibben’s Influence on U.S. Climate Change Discourse: Shifting Field-level Debates Through Radical Flank Effects.” Todd Schifeling and John Hoffman. Organizations & Environment, Forthcoming

Power to the People.” Bill McKibben. June 29, 2015. The New Yorker.

The Race to Solar Power Africa.” Bill McKibben. June 26, 2017. The New Yorker

Off-grid power pioneers pour into West Africa.” Reuters. February 20. 2018.

How electricity changes lives: a Rwandan case study.”Jörg Peters and Maximiliane Sievert. February 26, 2018.

Thursday, March 22 (REQUIRED) – Howard Woodin Colloquium.

“Being Interdisciplinary: What Does It Really Mean?” Jon Isham, Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies Dan Brayton, Associate Professor of English and American Literatures and Environmental Studies Marc Lapin, Assistant Laboratory Professor in Environmental Studies Kathy Doyle, Visiting Associate in Science Instruction in Environmental Studies

Friday, March 23 (discussion section)

Annotated bibliography due in class via Canvas

March 24 – April 1 – Spring break

Week 7 

Monday, April 2

Automakers Sought Looser Rules but May Get More Than They Bargained for.” Hiroko Tabuchi and Lisa Friedman. The New York Times. March 30, 2018.

China and the Children will Save the Electric Car from Scott Pruitts’ EPA.” Alex Davies. Wired. March 30, 2018.

Vig and Kraft, Chapter 3: “Environmental Advocacy in the Obama Years: Assessing New Strategies for Political Change.”  Matthew Nisbet.

Wednesday, April 4

May Boeve: the new face of the climate change movement.” Karl Mathiesen.  The Guardian. April 8, 2015.

Friday, April 6 – NO MEETING

Week 8

Monday, April 9

Washington at Work: Back Rooms and Clean Air. Richard E. Cohen. 1995. Preface and Chapter 1 and 2. (ERES)

In class: ‘An Act of Congress.’

Wednesday, April 11

Vig and Kraft, Chapter 10: “Applying Market Principles to Environmental Policy”  Sheila Olmsted. (pp. 215-230.)

Washington at Work: Back Rooms and Clean Air. Richard E. Cohen. 1995. Chapters 4 and 7. (ERES)

Friday, April 13 (discussion section)

Discussion of papers

Week 9

Monday, April 16

Reflections on Nearly Three Decades with the EPA.” Carl Howard. The Woodin Colloquium. October 23, 2014.

Visit with Carl Howard, Assistant Regional Counsel at the EPA.

Wednesday, April 18

Layzer, Chapter 7. “Jobs vs. the Environment: Saving the Northern Spotted Owl.”

Friday, April 20: No CLASS (Student Symposium)

Week 10

Monday, April 23

Reading TBD

Visit with Bob Ratcliffe, Chief of Conservation and Outdoor Recreation for the National Park Service.

Wednesday, April 25

In-class discussion of progress of papers. with two assignments on Canvas.

Thursday, April 26 (REQUIRED) – Howard Woodin Colloquium.

“Expressway to (In)equity: Environmental Justice, Community Engagement & Urban Redevelopment.” Lemir Teron, Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies, SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry

Friday, April 27 (discussion)

Three recent articles on solutions:

This bat is the first to make it off the endangered species list. Celebrate with a shot of tequila.” Darryl Fears. The Washington Post. April 21, 2018.

Chesapeake Bay grass resurgence is first big conservation success tied to humans, scientists say.” Katherine Hafner. The Virginian-Pilot. Apr 13, 2018; updated April 24, 2018.

A Smorgasbord of Solutions for Global Warming.” David Bornstein. The New York Times. April 25, 2018.

First draft of policy paper due by 11:00PM on Sunday, April 29 via Canvas.

Week 11

Monday, April 30

Layzer, Chapter 3: “Love Canal: Hazardous Waste and the Politics of Fear.”

Wednesday, May 2

Meet the Mom Who Helped Expose Flint’s Toxic Water Nightmare.” Julia Lurrie. Mother Jones.  January 21, 2016. 

Butler, Lindsey J., Madeleine K. Scammell, and Eugene B. Benson. “The Flint, Michigan, Water Crisis: A Case Study in Regulatory Failure and Environmental Injustice.” Environmental Justice, vol. 9, no. 4, 2016, pp. 93-97.

After Flint: Environmental Justice as Equal Protection.” David A. Dana and Deborah Tuerkheimer. 111 Northwest. University Law Review. 879 (2017).

Friday, May 4 (discussion)

The danger of a single story.” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Peer review of policy paper due in class. Please bring two paper copies (one for your peer and one for Professor Isham) and also submit on Canvas. 

Discussion of papers

Week 12

Monday, May 7

No class

Wednesday, May 9

Vig and Kraft, Chapter 15: “China’s Quest for a Green Economy” Kelly Sims Gallagher and Joanna I. Lewis.

Four Years After Declaring War on Pollution, China is Winning.” Michael Greenstone, The New York Times. March 12, 2018

Friday, May 11 (discussion section)

Layzer, Chapter 18: “Politics, Values, and Environmental Policy Change.”

Week 13

Monday, May 14 (discussion section)

Discussion of your papers and class wrap-up

Final exam on Tuesday, May 22 from 9:00 – 12:00 in the Orchard

Final draft of policy paper due by 10:00PM on Tuesday, May 22, via Canvas.