Environmental Politics and Law

About the Course

Can law change human behavior to be less environmentally damaging? Law will be examined through case histories including: environmental effects of national security, pesticides, air pollution, consumer products, plastics, parks and protected area management, land use, urban growth and sprawl, public/private transit, drinking water standards, food safety, and hazardous site restoration. In each case we will review the structure of law and evaluate its strengths and weaknesses.

View class sessions »

Course Structure

This Yale College course, taught on campus twice per week for 50 minutes, was recorded for Open Yale Courses in Spring 2010.

Course Materials

Download all course pages [zip - 10MB]

Video and audio elements from this course are also available on:

About Professor John Wargo

John Wargo is the Tweedy/Ordway Professor of Environmental Health and Politics, and is Chair of the Yale College Environmental Studies Major. He has written and lectured extensively on the limits and potential of environmental law. He wrote Green Intelligence: Creating Environments that Protect Human Health (Yale Press 2009), which is the primary text used in this course. The book won the Independent Publishers' Gold Medal Award in the field of "environment, ecology, and nature" for 2010 and was chosen as one of Scientific American's favorite books for 2009. He also wrote Our Children's Toxic Legacy: How Science and Law Fail to Protect Us from Pesticides (Yale Press 1998) that won the American Association of Publishers award as the best book in the field of political science. Professor Wargo has participated in several National Academy of Sciences committees, testified before Congress, and been an advisor to the White House, the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the EPA, USDA, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on environmental threats to health.

Share This Course:

Syllabus

Professor

John Wargo, Tweedy/Ordway Professor of Environmental Health and Politics

Description

Can law change human behavior to be less environmentally damaging? Law will be examined through case histories including: environmental effects of national security, pesticides, air pollution, consumer products, plastics, parks and protected area management, land use, urban growth and sprawl, public/private transit, drinking water standards, food safety, and hazardous site restoration. In each case we will review the structure of law and evaluate its strengths and weaknesses.

Texts

Kessler, David. A Question of Intent. New York: Public Affairs, 2002.

Pollan, Michael. The Omnivore's Dilemma. New York: Penguin, 2007.

Wargo, John. Green Intelligence. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009.

Weinberg, Philip, and Kevin Reilly. Understanding Environmental Law. 2nd ed. Lexis Nexis Press, 2008.

Requirements

Students will complete a take-home midterm and a take-home final examination, but may substitute a short research paper for the midterm. Students will also prepare several short assignments to prepare for section and interpret readings.

Grading

Final Examination: 40%
Paper or Midterm: 50%
Discussion Section: 10%

Survey

Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts about this course through the survey linked below. We also invite you to provide general feedback about Open Yale Courses by visiting the Feedback area of the site.

Take the survey

Join a Study Group

Through a pilot arrangement with Open Yale Courses, OpenStudy offers tools to participate in online study groups for a selection of Open Yale Courses, including EVST 255. If you wish to participate in one of these study groups, you will need to register for a free account with OpenStudy.

View study group

OpenStudy is not affiliated with Yale University. For more information regarding Open Yale Courses linking policy, please consult the Terms of Use.

Course Books and Other Related Titles

Yale University Press offers a 10% discount on the books used in EVST 255 that it publishes, as well as on other related titles. A portion of the proceeds from your purchases will be donated for the ongoing support and development of the Open Yale Courses program.

View the catalog for this course