ASTK15654U SEMINAR: Glocal Environmental Governance

Volume 2017/2018

Elective for Security Risk Management


In 2010 James Lovelock, globally respected environmental thinker and independent scientist, concluded that humans are too stupid to prevent climate change from radically impacting on our lives over the coming decades. The failures and successes of human attempts to govern accelerating environmental change is the political challenge of our era. The masters’ seminar will examine the theoretical, empirical and normative aspects of glocal environmental governance. The seminar will first consider the dominant paradigms, theories and concepts of glocal environmental governance. Second, the analytical tools developed in the introduction will be used to examine a series of cases in glocal environmental governance, including consumption & sustainability, pollution & precaution, biodiversity & ecosystem services, and climate change & green growth. The seminar concludes by returning to Lovelock’s assertion and asking whether and how humans are able to engage in glocal environmental governance capable of averting ecotastrophe.


Preliminary plan:


1. Understanding glocal environmental governance


2. overview – Our Promised Land

3. cases in consumption & sustainability


4. overview – Wall-E’s World

5. cases in pollution & precaution


6. overview – the Avatar of Biodiversity

7. cases in biodiversity & ecosystem services

Climate Change

8. overview – Today is the Day After Tomorrow

9. cases in climate change and green growth


10. Towards Planetary Politics

Learning Outcome


Knowledge and understanding of the discipline of political science: The masters’ seminar in ‘Glocal Environmental Governance’ encourages masters-level students to know and understand why planetary politics is absent from the discipline of political science. Masters’ students studying this seminar will become knowledgeable with critical theories in order to understand how the powerful ideologies of capitalist conservatism shape the discipline of political science, contemporary politics, and popular culture, rendering planetary politics invisible.



Practical competence in employment-related activities in political science: The masters’ seminar in ‘Glocal Environmental Governance’ enables masters-level students to become competent in employment-related activities such as achieving more sustainable development, applying the precautionary principle, maintaining ecosystem services, or recognising green growth.



Intellectual and transferable skills in political and social sciences: The masters’ seminar in ‘Glocal Environmental Governance’ helps masters-level students develop critical thinking, creativity and innovation, collaboration, and communication skills through group-based Active Learning activities.

Bäckstrand, Karin, and Annica Kronsell (eds.) Rethinking the Green State: Environmental governance towards climate and sustainability transitions (London: Routledge, 2017).

Chasek, Pamela, David Downie, Janet Brown, Global Environmental Politics, 7th edn. (Boulder: Westview Press, 2016).

Christoff, Peter, and Robyn Eckersley, Globalization and the Environment (Rowman and Littlefield, 2013).

Clapp, Jennifer, and Peter Dauvergne, Paths to a Green World: The Political Economy of the Global Environment, 2nd edn. (Boston: MIT Press, 2011).

Corry, Olaf, and Hayley Stevenson (eds.) Traditions and Trends in Global Environmental Politics: International Relations and the Earth (London: Routledge, 2017).

Conca, Ken, and Geoffrey Dabelko (eds.) Green Planet Blues: Critical Perspectives on Global Environmental Politics, 5th edn. (Boulder: Westview Press, 2014).

Crow, Deserai, and Maxwell Boykoff (eds.) Culture, Politics and Climate Change: How Information Shapes our Common Future (London: Routledge, 2014).

DeSombre, Elizabeth, Global Environmental Institutions (London: Routledge, 2017).

Harris, Paul (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Global Environmental Politics (London: Routledge, 2015).

Klein, Naomi, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2015).

Lovelock, James, The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning (Basic Books, 2010).

Litfin, Karen, Ecovillages: Lessons for Sustainable Community (Cambridge: Polity, 2013).

Maslin, Mark, Climate Change: A Very Short Introduction, 3rd edn.  (Oxford: OUP, 2014).

Rockstrom, John, Big World, Small Planet: Abundance Within Planetary Boundaries (Yale University Press, 2015).

Stern, Nicholas, Why are We Waiting? The Logic, Urgency, and Promise of Tackling Climate Change (Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2015). 

A further condition for passing the seminar is that the student has actively participated in the seminar, i.e. min. 75% attendance and active participation. Active participation comprises min. one presentation of the student's own assignment(s) and one opposition to another seminar participant’s assignment. The assignment(s) are based on an area chosen by the student but linked to the seminar theme.
BA level in political science, international relations, or similar competence, and an interest in understanding glocal environmental governance.
This masters-level Active Learning seminar requires Preparation, Participation, and Positive attitude. Preparation means that the seminar takes the form of Active Learning involving continuous assessment. Seminar assignments are compulsory and are continuously assessed. Seminar assignments must be written individually. Positive attitude means that students will constructively participate in the weekly group learning activities which form the core of the seminar.
Masters’ students who do not wish to learn through group activities, active participation, and continuous assessment, and should not take this seminar.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Total
  • 28

A maximum of 25 masters’ students will receive feedback on their continuous assessment in groups.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination
Individuel assignments
Exam registration requirements

Participation means that in order to pass the seminar, students must actively participate through a minimum of 75% (7 out of 10 meetings).

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assesment


  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner