Welcome to Mr. Tredinnick's Environmental Policy Course!
This semester-long course examine the political landscape of the United States, through a specific emphasis of how the government develops and establishes policies regarding the environment. The course begins with an overview of the guiding principles of the formation of the government, before examining the role of different governmental and non-governmental agencies in formulating policies and legislation. Students will also examine how the policy of the United States contrasts to international frameworks on the environment. The varying levels of government will also be examined to see how policy is implemented at state, local, national, and international scales.
"We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors; We borrow it from our children" - Native American Proverb
Unit I Course Schedule
Week 1: Course Introduction
Module 1.1: Conservationists 101
Central Question: What is conservation and how do different forms of government get involved?
Forum: Knowing the Ropes (1.1)
Field Excursion: Getting to Know You (O&A)
- Arguing a Policy (Assignment)
HW: Review Syllabus & Review Unit Paper
Module 1.2: Governmental Ideology
Central Question: What impact can governmental philosophies have on conservation efforts?
Forum: Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life (1.2)
Field Excursion: Seeing Government (Bugs)
Map Lab: Comparing Conservation Policies (Assignment)
+ Freedom and Conservation (Map)
+ Freedom in the World
+ Environmental Performance Index
Week 4: Role of Citizens
Labor Day - Sept 5-6th
Module 1.7: Power of the People
Central Question: What actions can people take to effect change within the government?
Forum: Forefront of Environmental Protection (1.7)
Field Lab: Land Worth Protecting Part II
- Photos, Poetry, and Field Studies (Assignment)
Writing Lab 1.2: Peer Review
Week 2: Basic Division of Power
Module 1.3: Scale of Government
Central Question: What are the different levels of American government and what role can they have in protecting the environment?
Forum: Who protects what? (1.3)
- American Federalism and Public Lands (Notes)
Writing Lab: Thesis Statement Draft
Module 1.4: Power of the People
Central Question: In what ways is the U.S. Government of the people? by the people? and for the people?
Forum: Land of the People (1.4)
Field Excursion: Land Worth Protecting Part I (Adventure Trails)
- American Citizenship (Notes)
Writing Lab 1.1: Thesis Statement Drafts
HW: Introduction and Outline (Due next Mod 1.5)
Week 5: The American Experiment
No School - Friday Sept 16th
Module 1.8: The American Experiment
Central Question: Where did the United States get some of its ideas for how government should operate?
Forum: American Exceptionalism (1.8)
- Beg, Borrow, Steal (Assignment)
+ We the People (Map)
+ WordCloud Creator
Writing Lab 1.3: Last Minute Edits
Module 1.9: Celebration of Knowledge
Central Question: What are the core principles behind the formation of the United State governmental system and how do those ideas relate to environmentalism?
Forum: Q/Q/C/C/CoO (1.9)
Unit I Test: Principles of Environmental Protection
Unit I Paper - Governmental Role in Environmental Protection Submission
HW: Kenyon: Chapters 1-8 (pages. 1-173) should be completed by October 31st
Week 3: American Citizenship
(Aug 29-Sept 2)
Module 1.5: Getting Involved in the Process
Central Question: How can American citizens more directly get involved in the process of American Government and protecting the environment?
Forum: Why be Involved? (1.5)
Field Excursion: Speak Your Piece (Africa)
- Forms of Civic Participation (Notes)
HW: Have Your Voice Heard (Assignment)
+ Nebraska Senator Lookup
HW: Body Paragraphs drafted by 1.7
Module 1.6: Dividing Up Power
Central Question: What are the advantages and disadvantages of a three branch government?
Forum: Autocratic or Democratic? (1.6)
- Restrictions on Power (Notes)
- The Antiquities Act (Assignment)
HW: Body Paragraphs drafted by 1.7
Unit I Notes
Unit I Position Project & Unit Review
Writing Lab 1.1: Functional Thesis Statement
Unit I Assignments
Unit I Resources
"A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people." - President Franklin D. Rosevelt (D-NY, 1944)
Unit II Course Schedule
Week 6: Leading By Consensus
Module 2.1: The People's Branch
Central Question: What is the function of the Legislative Branch and how can it affect Environmental Conservation?
Forum: Legislative Requirements (2.1)
Discussion: Environmental Checks and Balances
- Role of the Legislative Branch (Notes)
- Bill to Law Flow Chart (Notes)
+ Schoolhouse Rock: I'm Just a Bill
HW: The Passage of the ESA (Assignment)
+ BallotPedia: History of the ESA
Module 2.2: The Will of the People
Central Question: How is decision making delegated to ensure best possible outcome?
Forum: Committees on the Environment (2.2)
Discussion: The Passage of the ESA
- Congressional Committees (Assignment)
+ Submission Form
Discussion: Committee Qualifications Findings
Week 9: Leading with Reason
No School October 13-14 (PT Conferences)
Module 2.7: Providing Insight
Central Question: How is the Judicial Branch able to use its powers and oversight to influence legislation and executive actions towards the environment?
Forum: Endangered Species Act (2.7)
- A Wolf's Day in Court (Assignment)
+ Center for Biological Diversity: Minnesota Supreme Court Asked to Stop Killing of 400 Wolves
+ Howling For Wolves v. Minnesota DNR
- Role of the Judicial Branch (Notes)
HW: Dakota Access Pipeline (Assignment)
+ Dakota Pipeline (Overview of DAPL)
+ Indian Country: DAPL Illegal
+ Forbes: Let DAPL Remain Operational
Week 7: Leading By Example
Module 2.3: Dictating the Pace of Change
Central Question: How may the President use the position of their office to influence action towards the environment?
Forum: Presidential Actions (2.3)
- Role of the Executive Branch (Notes)
- Commander in Green (Assignment)
+ How Trump is Changing the Environment
+ CNBC: Trump Paris Accord Exit is Good News for the Environment
+ Time: Is Obama Bad for the Environment
+ WP: Obama on Saving Energy
Module 2.4: Wielding the Force of the Presidency
Central Question: Beyond their own powers, how can the president use their environmental policies to mold their legacy?
Forum: Shared Responsibility (2.4)
Discussion: For Better or Worse
- Presidential Environmentalists (Assignment)
+ Theodore Roosevelt and the National Parks
+ Theodore Roosevelt and Conservation
+ Executive Branch Reading Room
Week 10: Leading with Reason
Module 2.8: The Rule of Laws
Central Question: How can influential pieces of Legislation from the past determine actions by the Federal Government in the present and Future?
Forum: Environmental Considerations (2.8)
Discussion: The Dakota Access Pipeline
- National Environmental Policy Act (Notes)
HW: Preparing for Field Excursion
+ NPS Volunteering and Internship Opportunities
+ NPS Artists-in-Residence Program
Field Trip Day - October 19th, 2022
Week 8: Leading By Action
Module 2.5: Environmental Oversight
Central Question: Is the EPA a overburdensome agency with too much control on regulations, or is it necessary for executive oversight?
Forum: Environmental Protector (2.5)
- Gutting the EPA (Assignment)
+ The Environmental Protection Agency
+ Media Bias/Fact Check
Discussion: The Environmental Protection Agency
Module 2.6: Science and the Government's Role
Central Question: How is scientific data collection and analysis connected to the Federal Government's role of protecting citizen's fundamental rights of Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness?
Forum: For the Good of Science! (2.6)
- Federal Scientific Agencies (Assignment)
HW: Federal Scientific Agencies Thought Question
Week 11: Leading for All
Module 2.10: Celebration of Knowledge
Central Question: Why is the Federal Government such an influential element in the fight to protect and preserve the natural environment?
Forum: Q/Q/C/C/CoO (2.10)
Unit II Test: Environmentalism at the Federal Level
HW: Kenyon Chapters 9-15 (pgs.175-282) should be complete before December 7th
Unit II Notes
Unit II Review
Unit II Assignments
Unit II Resources
Semester Project - Collecting Scientific Data for Informed Governmental Action
“The environment is so fundamental to our continued existence that it must transcend politics and become a central value of all members of society.” - Dr. David Suzuki (1997 The Sacred Balance)
Week 11: Field Data Collection
Module 4.1: Geography of Water Quality
Central Question: How is science important to government, and government important to science?
Forum: Establishing Knowledge on Watersheds (1a)
Field Lab: Waste Data Collection (Activity)
+ Marine Debris Tracker
HW: Collect 1 gallon of water from a local water system (remember where from)
Module 4.2: Examining a Community's Water Supply
Central Question: What resources are already available to monitor water quality?
Forum: Basics of Streamflow (1b)
- Water Flow in Local Waterways (Activity)
- Healthy WaterWays (Activity)
- Determining Drinking Water Safety (Activity)
HW: Collect Water Sample by next class
Week 12: Organizing Data
(Oct 31-Nov 4)
No school Oct 31 & Nov 1
Module 4.3: Field Data Collection in Water Quality
Central Question: How does water quality differ across the metro area?
Forum: Water Quality Metrics (1c)
- Community Water Sample Testing (Activity)
Module 4.4: Pushing for Change
Central Question: Once you have collected data, how can that data be used to make recommendations for informed governmental action?
Forum: Science and Government (4.4)
- Civic Action Development (Activity)
+ Water Quality Metrics
+ Examples of Action Plans
+ Raw Data
+ Find Your Senator
- Action Plan Submission
"We simply must do everything we can in our power to slow down global warming before it is too late. We can save our planet and also boost our economy at the same time." - Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA, 2006)
Unit III Course Schedule
Week 14: Local Governance
Module 3.1: The Power of an Individual
Central Question: How are everyday citizens able to affect the political process, and why should they care?
Forum: A Single Grain of Rice (3.1)
Discussion: Gaining Perspective
Map Lab: Environmental Injustice (Assignment)
+ EPA: Environmental Justice Screen
+ NRDC: The Environmental Justice Movement
- Citizen Created Change (Assignment)
+ Atlantic: Why March for Science?
+ Nat Geo: Climate Change 101
+ UN: Leonardo DiCaprio Message
Week 17: Information and Exposure
Module 3.6: Keeping the People Informed
Central Question: What role does the Media have in linking the actions of the United States Government and the People? Why is a "Free Media" so important in a Democracy?
Forum: Who Should You Trust Online? (3.6)
Discussion: Importance of Free Media
- The Influence of Media (Notes)
- Holding Our Representatives Accountable (Assignment)
+ League of Conservation Voters
Module 3.7: Academia and the Ivory Tower
Central Question: How can academic institutions help sway governmental opinions regarding environmental policy?
Forum: The Bias of Science (3.7)
- The Ivory Towers (Assignment)
+ Top Environmental Science Schools
- Elizabeth Warren Rips Think Tanks
HW: End of Unit Test Module 3.8, and End of Book test on Module 3.9
Week 15: Philosophical Leaders
Module 3.2: State and Local Government
Central Question: How do state and local governments operate and how can they be influential in the processes of environmental policy?
Forum: Its a State Issue (3.2)
Discussion: Gaining Perspective (pt. II)
+ Reflection (Assignment)
- Local Government (Notes)
Discussion: Environmental Justice
- State Environmentalists (Assignment)
Module 3.3: Tribal Governance and Conservation
Central Question: What factors influence the relationship between Tribal Governments and the US Federal Government and how can that affect their ability to work together to protect the environment?
Forum: Stuck in the Past (3.3)
Discussion: The Importance of Sovereignty
Map Lab: From Whence it Came (Assignment)
+ Native Lands
+ Cessions of Nebraska
+ Indigenous Tribes Index
HW: Historic Roots, Modern Issues (Assignment)
+ Smithsonian Institute - Treaties Still Matter
Week 18: Finish Unit III
Module 3.8: Celebration of Knowledge
Central Question: How can people and groups not connected directly to the Federal government still have an impact on how the country is run?
Forum: Q/Q/C/C/CoO (3.8)
Unit III Test: State and Non-Governmental Environmentalists
- Kenyon Reading Test Rubric
- Kenyon Submission Form
Week 16: Contributions of NGOs
Thanksgiving Break - Nov 23-25
Module 3.4: Party Politics
Central Question: What are the values of political parties in the efforts to preserve the environment?
Forum: Playing Politics with the Environment (3.4)
- Purpose of Political Parties (Notes)
+ Open Secrets
- The Political Machine (Notes)
- Researching a Position (Assignment)
HW: Make a Plea (Assignment)
Unit III Notes
Unit III Review
Unit III Assignments