Global Environmental Problems Essay Paper

Global Environmental Problems
     Global Environmental                          Problems

Global Environmental Problems, Environmentalisms, and the Age of Climate Change

Final Take-home essay: A 7-8 page essay (same font requirements as midterm). This is a two-part essay. In the first part, you will need to give a brief summary of the major environmental paradigms covered in the class and make an argument for the one(s) that you consider most convincing. Note: it might behoove you to consider more than one very convincing, but instead of defending them separately use your critical thinking skills to bring them together to form your own environmental ethics. Be sure that if you synthesize two or more paradigms that your new formulation does not have contradictions. (We will review more thoroughly what I mean by this at the end of the quarter). The second part is connected to the first. You will answer the following question: You have been hearing bout dire warnings and often bleak, dystopian predictions regarding climate change (a future all the more possible in the Age of Trump and widespread climate change denial in the U.S.). Let’s now turn the tables. Reflecting on lectures, notes, and class discussions, etc., what would your utopian environmental future look like? How would we get there? What obstacles would need to be overcome? What kind of polity would it require? What kinds of social relations would we need to have?

There will be more precise and thorough instructions for this two-part final essay during the second half of the term.

syllabus: a general description of this class

The course is divided into three parts. The first part will serve as an introduction to global environmental degradation and its accompanying problems (many of which have led to our current climate change crisis), how degradation evolved over time, and how it had different effects on people based on class, race, and gender. The second part of the course will delve into the rich and multifarious cultural and political traditions of environmental thinking across the globe to reflect on the limits and possibilities of environmental politics over time and space. You will learn about the utilitarian and conquest conceptions of nature that environmentalists have long sought to overturn, early preservation and conservation movements, the rise of modern environmentalism and ecological thinking, sustainable development paradigms, and environmental justice movements, among other ideas. The third part is dedicated to 1) a deeper understanding of our present environmental crisis as rooted in power relations, inequality, and the accumulation of earlier crises; and 2) pondering, based on the global environmental history we have learned, what the future might  bring, with a special emphasis on pessimistic (even apocalyptic) visions
and optimistic (even utopian) visions.

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