On Campus
1 x 100-minute seminar weekly

Distance Online
1 x 10-hour online exercise weekly
Enrolment not permitted
1 of POLI2012, POLI3049 has been successfully completed
Assumed knowledge
First and second level undergraduate policy topics.
Assignments, Participation, Quizzes
Topic description

Environmental Politics introduces students to a number of key debates over how government in Australia and elsewhere should respond to climate change and water scarcity. Students are encouraged to examine critically their own core political values in relation to questions about the way human societies evolve and impact on the natural world. The topic's core curriculum examines policy debates over how government and society should address energy and water use and whether democracy can cope with the challenge climate change presents. The role the environmental movement, including Green political parties, are reviewed against the 'death of environmentalism' argument.

The topic also aims to present these contemporary issues in a provocative manner and should be of particular interest to students undertaking majors in Politics, Public Policy, international Relations and Environmental Studies. The topic assumes no prior study of politics, as such science students are encouraged to take the topic as an elective.

Educational aims

Environmental Politics is a field of study ripe with challenging debates and is therefore able to help students develop their critical and argumentative capacities. Across a range of major contemporary environmental issues, especially in relation to how governments' in Australia and elsewhere grapple with responding to climate change, students are introduced to a variety of interpretations and arguments and asked to debate these in tutorials. Given the nature of contemporary policy challenges, environmental politics tends to generate lively tutorial discussion and allows students the opportunity explore their political and philosophical values and responses on key questions such as, how should modern society use energy; should China and lndia seek a different development path from that experienced in the West; can democracy cope with the climate change challenge; where's the 'truth' lie in the debate between so-called 'climate change skeptics' and 'warmists' and does water scarcity present the biggest challenge to government and society?

Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Critically assess your own political values on key environmental policy issues
  2. Describe and critique various philosophical approaches to the study of the human - natural environment relationship
  3. Analyse the nature of debate over the use of energy and water usage in western countries compared with developed countries, such as China and lndia
  4. Describe and critically assess the nature of environmental non-government organisations and how these operate within liberal democratic countries
  5. Analyse the role of public opinion and voting behaviour on 'green issues' and critically assess the future of the Australian Greens and Green parties in western countries