The course explores the process of analyzing environmental policies to ensure human health, that environmental needs are protected, and that the physical environment is preserved, protected, and restored, if necessary. Emphasis is placed on the need to evaluate and make decisions regarding environmental science, human health, sociopolitical, technological, legal, and economic considerations in a context of incomplete information and uncertain futures. Case studies and policies relating to various contemporary environmental issues, for example hazardous waste disposal, natural resource extraction and preservation of natural resources, are critiqued during the semester. The course will lead students through the various steps of the policy analysis process. Students are expected to evaluate policy alternatives, develop evaluation criteria, and apply qualitative and quantitative methods to determine consequences, trade-offs, and potential synergies relating to these environmental issues. Students will then use these skills to create and execute an individual research project that analyzes an environmental policy relating to a specific issue of interest to them, evaluating potential responses to environmental management problems through analyzing the impacts of each policy alternative.
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