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Environment and Policy


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor: Aideen Foley
  • Assessment: a 3500-word policy brief (40%) and 3500-word essay (60%)

Module description

In a speech she gave in 1967, Lady Bird Johnson said that 'The environment is where we all meet, where we all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share.' Yet many environmental challenges today are characterised by debate, disinformation and disagreement about the roles states, businesses and civil society play in causing and solving them. This module explores contemporary debates in environmental policy, with a particular focus on the intersections between environmental and social issues on both global and local scales. It begins by examining people's relationships with, and perception of, the environment. We then critically discuss different theoretical frameworks for understanding and responding to environmental problems (regulatory control, ecological modernisation, civic environmentalism), considering their potential to resolve environmental issues and related social issues.


  • Environmental philosophy
  • Environmental regulation
  • Market-based instruments
  • Business and the environment
  • Civic environmentalism
  • Environmental justice

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • explain key principles, theories, current issues and research relating to environmental policy, and the interactions between environmental and social issues
  • identify and critically analyse relevant data and literature, creating and justifying links between aspects
  • make informed policy recommendations on environmental issues by critically evaluating data and information
  • devise and sustain an argument, supported by evidence, including some elements of original insight
  • communicate information to enhance understanding and engagement by the specified audience.