Environmental Policy

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Environmental Policy

The creation of equitable and sustainable policy requires a nuanced understanding of natural resources and biodiversity, cultural traditions, and economic and development goals.

Through immersive and place-based programs, SFS students gain interdisciplinary exposure to these diverse perspectives, compare written policy with actual implementation, and come to understand how national or international policies are translated at the local level.



Students study the environmental policy issues regarding environmental management and cultural heritage. We study concepts and methods of ethics regarding development, public policy, environmental laws, and local attitudes toward humankind’s dealings with the natural world. While studying indigenous peoples’ access to natural resources, students develop a set of recommendations that they then deliver to local policymakers.


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We consider how environmental policy, particularly in the Amazon, is shaped by political ecology, and examine the political, economic, and social factors of environmental issues and changes. We also consider how environmental policy is shaped by the theories and ethics of sustainable and unsustainable development, and the need to view these issues in ways that are inclusive and just.


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Students learn how proper environmental policy of wildlife management considers socioeconomic realities, hierarchies, power structures, formal and informal decision-making processes, drivers and implications of demographic change, and land reform. Students are introduced to major constituencies that affect conservation policies, such as NGOs and economic interests and examine their underlying philosophies.


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We study the perspectives of fishers, tourism workers, and other interest groups and consider how environmental policy can help avoid conflicts in future marine planning. Students explore how a diversity of actors can help inform marine policy that is more sustainable from both ecological and socioeconomic perspectives. Our research in lobster, conch, and finfish stock assessments provides important information for government agencies to use in establishing policy that promotes sustainable fishing rules and guidelines.


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