F&ES 860b / 2019-2020

Understanding Environmental Campaigns and Policymaking: Strategies and Tactics

Credits: 3

Spring 2020: Tu, 1:00-3:50, Kroon G01
 

 
This course is about the strategies and tactics used by successful environmental campaigns, taught from a practitioner's perspective. It is also a course about environmental policymaking. Policy doesn’t just happen the way it’s described in grade school civics textbooks. And it isn’t just policymakers who make it. Corporate and civic interests play an influential role at all levels of policymaking. As future participants in the policy process, whether you come at it from a perch in government, business, as an advocate, or as a private citizen, you can jumpstart your ability to participate and respond by understanding how policy campaign advocacy impacts policymaking. Though this topic is neither well documented nor regularly taught, there is a toolkit that can be learned. Most environmental campaigners and policymakers learn about policy campaigning on the job. This course attempts to advance understanding of the policy making process by exposing F&ES students to case examples from the environmental policy making world of the past decade. The course examines selected case examples of successful policy campaigns, and seeks to tease out lessons and best practice. No single environmental campaign is the same, and strategies and tactics are always evolving, but there are key lessons about campaign practices that can be learned. Case studies we examine this spring will include campaigns enacting anti-toxic legislation in Washington State; stopping the Keystone XL Pipeline; retiring coal fired power plants in the U.S., protecting the Great Bear Rainforest and the Boreal Forest in Canada; banning the use of high Sulphur fuels in the Arctic; securing an international ban on Arctic ocean fishing; catalyzing the decarbonization of supply chain emissions at Levis; pushing Starbucks to adopt a recyclable,
compostable coffee cup; and encouraging banks and insurers to commit to Paris aligned lending and financing. Campaigners who played leadership roles in these efforts will join us for class. We will examine each case, seek a practical understanding of strategies and tactics used by each campaign, and attempt to synthesize lessons and best practice.