Environmental Politics

November 2, 2004

Political Science 326
Environmental Politics

Ecological Ethics/Activism/Justice
University of Hawai’i West 0ahu

Instructor: Joshua Cooper
Classes: Thursday 7:00 p.m. 9:45 p.m.
Office Hours: Monday & Wednesday 12:00 p.m. 1:00 p.m. or upon appointment
Office Phone Number: 984 3331
Email: Joshua@hawaii.edu

“Only when the last tree has died and the last river poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.” -Cree Elder

“This we know. The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites family. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a stand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.” -Chief Seattle

“I am trying to save the knowledge that the forests and this planet are alive, to give it back to you who have lost the understanding.”
-Paulinho Paiakan, Kayapo People, Brazil

“The earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it.”
-Chief Joseph, Nez Perce Nation

“Luna is only one tree … The more we stand up and demand change, though, the more things will improve … We must do the right thing because it is the right thing to do regardless of the outcome. I have to take it one struggle at a time. And just as I have done with Luna, when that struggle comes my way, I’ve got to fight it with all my worth. Yes, one person can make a difference. Each one of us does.”
-Julia Butterfly Hill

“The environment is man’s first right.”
-Ken Saro Wiwa

“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
-The Lorax, Dr. Seuss

I. Course Description

What is human rights? What is earth rights? What is peace? Is there a need for a new environmental ethic? How can nonviolent movements to protect human rights and earth rights coordinate campaigns to improve political efficacy and save humanity and the planet? What international instruments and institutions protect and promote human/earth rights? These are just some of the core questions we will explore together.

Ecological Ethics/Activism/Justice aims to educate on the philosophical and legal aspects of the environment to empower citizens with practical, peaceful methods for advocacy and sustainability. Ecological Ethics/Activism/Justice is coordination for principled philosophy, passionate praxis and pragmatic policy for grassroots and global human/earth rights.

Key concepts in critical theory focusing on the environment will be analyzed. Also, a calling to adopt an ethic in harmony with humanity and the earth will be assessed thoroughly. An exploration of earth rights will be undertaken to illuminate the connection between basic human well being and a healthy environment.

The ecological and social justice campaigns are interconnected. While ecological Justice seems to be a recent phenomenon, the course will trace the historical developments of the struggle to protect mother earth The nonviolent campaigns demand a more comprehensive and compassionate development strategy that balances human needs and nature. I

The theoretical background of human/earth rights and the implementation in international law will be explored. The protection of the earth will be framed in the human Tights context. The’ drafting and enforceability of human/earth rights will be analyzed in international law. There will be a comparison of rights in different declarations and charters from the Rio & Karioca Declarations and the Earth Charter and possibilities for peaceful strategies to protect earth.

Through readings, class discussions, guest speakers, videos, role playing, grassroots and global activism, educational excursions, soul searching and journal writing, one will gain a better understanding of campaigns for human/earth rights in international law. One can also begin to establish a person philosophy and human rights framework to analyze issues and engage in personal activism.

II. Course Objective

Develop understanding of ecological ethic to form opinions on international issues of law, politics and morals; explore ability of self empowerment from ethical position to peaceful activism through education and experience; trace the historical development of international law connecting the environment to human rights; understand the interconnectedness of earth rights and human rights; respect indigenous wisdom in relation to living in harmony with the earth; assess the impact of multinational corporations and the necessity of nonviolent civil disobedience by earth/human rights activist and seek solutions to secure ecological and social justice through ethics/activism/justice in declarations and conventions in international law

III. Course Requirement

Grading Scheme:

20% Attendance, Participation in Class Discussion, Email Discussion List & Journal

30% Written & Oral Exercises

*Earth Rights NGO Report (10%)
*Earth Rights in the Pacific Paper (10%)
*Earth Rights in International Human Rights Research Paper (10%)

30% Role Playing & Simulations

*Model United Nations Working Group on Human Rights & the Environment (10%)
*Model United Nations World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) (10%)
*Model United Nations Social Forum (10%)

20% Putting the Philosophy into Practice

*Hawaii Sustainability Summit (Campus & Community) (10%)
*Aloha Aina Service Learning for Ecological Justice Project & Report (10%)

*Class Excursions of Empowerment (Part of Attendance)
*Guest Lectures in field of Earth Rights Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues featuring Earth Rights, Earth Rights in Europe, Americas, Africa, Asia & Pacific Earth Rights & US Foreign Policy Ecological Ethics/Activism/Justice

IV. Texts

Atkisson, Believing Cassandra
Greer & Giannini, Earth Rights

V. Videos

*Burning Season: The Chico Mendez Story
*Environmentalists Under Fire
*Greenpeace’s Greatest Hits
*Koyaanisqatsi Life Out of Balance
*A Quiet Revolution
*Not For Sale
*This is What Democracy Looks Like
*Global Village or Global Pillage?

VI. Course Outline & Activities

Writing Assignments

*Current Events Email Discussion
a) write brief comments on email list
b) share different newsworthy events about the environment via email
c) follow the different international, regional and national events and share with class

*Journal (8 pages)
a) review readings, classroom discussion
b) current events (read newspapers, journals)
c) personal experiences in earth rights
d) soul searching reflection

*Earth Rights NGO Report (2 3 pages)
a) select eco ngo
b) review class readings
c) examine other sources
d) explore own ideas
e) ethics & effectiveness of eco ngo
f) author research paper focusing on philosophy & practice of eco ngo
g) Include footnotes, works cited

*Earth Rights in the Pacific Paper (3 5 pages not including chart)
a) select Pacific nation
b) examine International Human Rights Record of Ratification
c) review most recent reports to UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies
d) research Pacific nation and review Earth Rights violations and protections
e) suggest earth rights response and possibilities for respect the earth

*Earth Rights in International Human Rights Research Paper (2 3 pages)
a) select specific earth right featured in Earth Rights Part II: A Closer Look
b) explore and examine specific earth rights
c) suggest national and international response to protect the earth right selected

Role Playing & Simulations

*Model United Nations Working Group on Human Rights & the Environment
a) research material on the Draft Principles on HR & Environment, Earth Charter
b) prepare statements to dialogue in international arena
c) discuss and debate human rights/earth rights violations in international arena, need for international instrument to protect earth rights
d) contemplate, create position papers for equality, ecology and humanity

*Roles to Play
a) Earth Rights Non Governmental Organization (NGO)
b) UN Member State
c) UN Special Rapporteur
d) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Secretariat Member
e) Press and Public

*Model United Nations World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD)
a) review problems with protecting earth rights in international law write paragraph for WSSD Declaration
b) review possible solutions to protect earth rights in international law write paragraph for WSSD Programme of Action
c) discuss, debate prepared paragraphs for WSSD Declaration/Programme of Action

*Model United Nations Social Forum
a) complete writing assignment focusing on specific Earth Right
b) class create panels based on the themes in the research papers
c) share research, discuss possible solutions and suggestions for international instruments and institutions

*Roles to Play
a) Earth Rights NGO
b) UN Member State
c) UN Special Rapporteur
d) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Secretariat Member
e) Press and Public

Putting the Philosophy into Practice

*Hawaii Sustainability Summit (Campus & Community)
a) organize a Hawaii Sustainability Summit
b) brainstorm, plan and organize Summit(s) to raise awareness and change policy
c) coordinate and experience Hawaii Sustainability Summit

*Aloha Aina Service Learning for Ecological Justice Project & Report
a) survey area of opportunity to serve create ngo or select ngo
b) participate, experience service learning up to 10 hours direct experience
c) apply readings and discussions into service learning direct experience
d) suggest possible solutions to improve services of NGO to community
e) connect grassroots and global levels with own experience and reflection

*Class Excursions of Empowerment (Part of Attendance)
a) visit different individuals and community associations dedicated to peace
b) learn beyond classroom to understand context of course

VII. Course Schedule

Week 1
16 January Introduction, Video

Week 2
23 January
Believing Cassandra,
Chapter 1. When Worlds Collapse pp.3-26
Video (Decide if videos develop, enhance readings)

Week 3
30 January
Believing Cassandra, Chapter 2. A Brief History Cassandra’s Dilemma pp. 27-42
Earth Rights, Draft Principles on Human Rights and Environment
The Ksentini Principles 102-109

Week 4
6 February
Believing Cassandra, Chapter 3.
In the Gallery of Global Trends pp. 43-68
Earth Rights, Forward pp. 6-9
Earth Rights, Chapter 1 Introduction pp. 9-12

Assignment Due *Model United Nations Working Group on Human Rights & Eco

Week 5
13 February
Believing Cassandra, Chapter 4. It’s the System pp. 69-87
Earth Rights, Chapter 2 The Concept of Earth Rights & Legal Groundings pp. 14-23

Week 6
20 February
Believing Cassandra, Chapter 5.
Cassandra’s Laughter, Cassandra’s Tear pp.88-102
Earth Rights, Chapter 3
The Underlying Causes and Contents Of Earth Rights Abuses pp. 23-34

Week 7
27 February
Believing Cassandra, Chapter 6.
Armageddon, Utopia, or Both? pp.103-132
Earth Rights, Chapter 4
Violence Against the Environment, its Inhabitants, and Defenders pp. 34-44

Week 8
6 March
Believing Cassandra, Chapter 7.
The Future in a Word pp.133-152
Earth Rights, Chapter 5
Freedom From Arbitrary Deprivation of One’s Property and Interference with One’s Home
pp. 44-50

Assignment Due *Earth Rights NGO Report

Week 9
13 March
Believing Cassandra, Chapter 8.
The Proof of the Possible pp.153-174
Earth Rights, Chapter 6
The Right to Nondiscrimination pp. 50-56

Week 10
20 March
Believing Cassandra, Chapter 9.
The innovation Diffusion Game pp. 175-197
Earth Rights, Chapter 7
Healthy Environment & Right to Health pp. 56-66

Assignment Due *Model United Nations WSSD

Spring Break
24-28 March
Serenade Your Soul with Nature
Smell the Flowers

Week 11
3 April
Believing Cassandra, Chapter 10.
Accelerate to Survive pp.198-211
Earth Rights, Chapter 8
The Right to Food Security and Means of Subsistence pp. 66-75

Assignment Due *Earth Rights in the Pacific Paper

Week 12
10 April
Earth Rights, Chapter 9 Indigenous Peoples’ Rights pp. 75-84

Week 13
17 April
Earth Rights, Chapter 10 The Right to Remedies pp. 84-92
United Nations Human Rights and Environment Seminar

Assignment Due *Earth Rights in International Human Rights Research Paper Assignment Due *Model United Nations Social Forum

Week 14
24 April
Earth Rights, Chapter 11 Working Together pp. 92-102

Assignment Due *Aloha Aina Service Learning for Eco Justice Project & Report

Week 15
1 May
Amnesty International Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples
All Material

Assignment Due *Journal

Assignment Due *Hawaii Sustainability Summit (Campus & Community)

Week 16
8 May
Pa’ina Potluck
Class Readings of Children Classics

Assignment Due *Earth Rights in the Pacific Paper (Final Draft)

School: University of Hawaii - West Oahu
Professor: Joshua Cooper
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