It is a three-part essay. In the first part, you will need to give a brief summary of 3 of the major environmental paradigms covered in the class and make an argument for the one(s) that you consider most convincing (that is, able to address the environmental/climate crisis). The major paradigms were covered in lecture. They include conquest mentalities, preservation and conservation, modern mainstream environmentalism, environmental justice, and the two principal meanings of sustainability (Bruntland’s sustainable development vision and free-market/corporate sustainability). Note: it might behoove you to conclude that more than one is 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. For instance, in an extreme case, the conquest paradigm does not square very well with modern environmentalism for reasons that should be evident from lecture and readings.
In the second part, you must define and discuss two of the alternative visions/proposed solutions that we have been covering during weeks 9 and 10. These are current political (or technological) projects/visions with origins in the existing paradigms listed above. They are: technological fixes/climate engineering, corporate/free market environmentalism, public-private partnerships, various “social democratic” alternatives, and eco-socialism. You do not need to discuss all of these projects/visions, but you must describe 2 of them and explain which one of all of them aligns best with the paradigm you’ve defended from part 1.
The third part is connected to the first two. Let your answers to parts 1 and 2 guide you forward in this part. You will answer the following question: Reflecting on and using as evidence (where appropriate) lectures, readings, notes, and class discussions, etc., what would a global society without disastrous climate change and acute environmental crisis look like?
You may consider answers to the following more specific questions to devise your new society. How would we get there? In other words, who would be the agents bringing about your new more environmentally ethical future and what political/cultural obstacles would need to be overcome? What kind of polity (that is, government) would it require? What would the relationship between government and economy be? How would people interact with their environment? How would people relate to each other (for example, relations between, say, classes, genders, or ethnicities)? You might opt to be utopian or idealistic in your thinking; you might opt to be more pragmatic, or some synthesis of the two.
Suggested page length for each part:
Part I: 3.5-4 pages
Part II: 1.5-2 pages
Part II: 2-3 pages
You will need to use concrete evidence from lectures, readings, and discussions to substantiate your arguments and defend your claims. Do not lean too heavily on readings over lecture, and vice versa. You should strike a balance.
Think carefully and consider and weigh the class material, that is, the different environmental paradigms and political projects that seek to solve the climate and environmental crisis. Make connections across lectures and readings to devise your stance and to articulate your own “alternative world”. This is your essay. Use your imagination in the second part, an imagination that stems from your knowledge gained in this class. This is your opportunity (humanity’s only opportunity?) to dream big! Think for yourself, employing material and evidence drawn from the second half of the class.
IMPORTANT: You may use outside material, but like last time, only to complement material from this class. Not to replace it. If you bring in an outside source(s), please provide a works cited page (bibliography) of those sources.
Please mainly use the class sides and reading I provided. Use definition from slides and readings to define paradigms, including: conquest mentalities, preservation and conservation, modern mainstream environmentalism, environmental justice, and the two principal meanings of sustainability (Bruntland’s sustainable development vision and free-market/corporate sustainability (choices of 3) and current political (or technological) projects/visions with origins in the existing paradigms listed above. They are: technological fixes/climate engineering, corporate/free market environmentalism, public-private partnerships, various “social democratic” alternatives, and eco-socialism (choice of 2
Chapter 8 of Guttmann
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