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POLS207 Environmental Politics

The environment dominates local, national and international news. There is so much information and evidence about the effect humans are having on the planet. So why is the political response to these challenges so slow? This paper uses New Zealand as a case study to better understand the importance and complexity of environmental politics today.

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An introduction to environmental politics in New Zealand: the history of environmental reform; the Resource Management Act 1991; green politics in New Zealand; also discussion of international and theoretical perspectives on environmental ethics.

This paper introduces students to three important parts of environmental politics: ideas and theories about our attitudes towards our environment; the way we manage our environment, using New Zealand as a case study; and green party politics and activism in New Zealand and internationally. It also encourages students to develop useful skills for environmental politics, like writing submissions to try and influence decision-makers. The class attracts a broad range of students from inside and outside the study of politics, including students from sciences and international students on exchange.

Paper title Environmental Politics
Paper code POLS207
Subject Politics
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $886.35
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,766.35

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One 100-level POLS paper or 72 points.
Schedule C
Arts and Music
An interest in national and international affairs is an advantage.
Teaching staff
Professor Janine Hayward
Paper Structure
The paper is in three parts: environmental ethics and theories; environmental management; and green politics.
Teaching Arrangements
The paper encourages participation from students in both lectures and tutorials. It requires students to read set chapters and articles in preparation for these discussions. Students are encouraged to voice their views and ask questions in lectures and tutorials to enhance their understanding of issues.
E-reserve on Blackboard. Course Reader available for purchase.
Course outline

View a sample course outline for POLS 207. (Students taking this paper should refer to blackboard for the current course outline)

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Environmental literacy, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
This paper will challenge student's assumptions and attitudes regarding the environment, it will allow students to engage in a meaningful way with important literature about environmental politics, and it will encourage students to understand the value of critical analysis of complex environmental policy issues and problems.

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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 09:00-09:50 9-16, 18-22
Wednesday 10:00-10:50 9-16, 18-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Wednesday 15:00-15:50 11-16, 18-21
A2 Wednesday 16:00-16:50 11-16, 18-21
A3 Thursday 13:00-13:50 11-16, 18-22
A4 Thursday 14:00-14:50 11-16, 18-21