One of the greatest challenges of today’s societies is to face the environmental crisis. To advocate green interests, environmental issues must be presented on many levels. Several numbers of political and social factors and economic interests determine the recognition of ecological issues as a political action. In light of the contemporary environmental challenges and towards establishing a much-needed new relationship between humanity and the environment, it is being recognized to an increasing extent worldwide that, in addition to fostering profound changes in the economic, political and legal framework, conditions that provide ground for the operation of the private sector, as well as the relevant role of individuals and communities, must be better explored and brought to a new level. This course will provide students with a deep understanding of the complexities of environmental politics and policies, the challenges that the environment poses to political systems and policy issues that arise in this regard. Throughout the course students will gain in-depth knowledge about how the political pursues handle environmental problems related to, e.g., air pollution, waste management issues, climate change, among others.
The course is divided into three main blocks along its main goals. First, it is an introduction to environmental institutions and policy making on EU–and national level. We will examine the roles and actors of these institutions through practical examples. The aim is for the students to understand global environmental problems from political–and policy perspectives in terms of the role of institutions and interests at the national and international level.
After learning about political systems and policies we will move on to case studies, through which we will learn about the greatest environmental challenges of our time, discover the participants in the process, discuss the policies currently being implemented and propose possible new policy solutions. With this knowledge, students will be able to understand relevant empirical information in the context of problem solving- and pressure across several environmental issues, both local and transboundary. In the last main block of the course, we will focus on green political thinking, action, and environmental political parties. We will discuss the complex relationship between formal and informal political processes over environmental issues, understand the idea of environmental justice and what that entails, and we will examine the impact of different political will on environmental issues with the comparison of the Hungarian and Austrian political systems.