Environmental Advocacy

Spring 2014 quarter

Taught by

geography, environmental studies

Prevention and resolution of environmental problems depends significantly on effective environmental advocacy.  Science, government regulation, and market mechanisms are insufficient without it.  The purpose of this 4-credit graduate elective is to learn and practice skills needed to be an effective environmental advocate, including analysis of a contested policy situation, development of an effective strategy to affect its outcome, and methods for implementing the strategy through organized, collective action.  This knowledge is useful for those working within government, the private sector, environmental advocacy groups, and as citizen activists.  We will study cases that illustrate the successes and failures of various attempts to influence events, including guest lectures by participants in those cases.  We will learn to practically apply social science theoretical frameworks in ways that help create effective strategy.  The course provides a critical survey of approaches to environmental advocacy – from global to local – emphasizing strengths and weaknesses.  Students will research, write and present on a case of their choosing, preferably from their own experience, that illustrates the principles we study.  They will have the opportunity for experiencing a physical analog for policy conflict through one or more practice sessions in the martial art of Aikido.  After taking the course, students should have improved abilities to diagram the sequence of events leading to an environmental policy decision, locate decision points and key players, find pivotal opportunities for intervention, assemble coalitions capable of effecting change, and act ethically and appropriately to carry out strategy from within their role in the public or private sector.

2014 Syllabus

Faculty Biography:

Ted Whitesell, Ph.D., is a broadly trained cultural geographer with special interests in political ecology and conservation.  As a freshman at the University of Colorado, Ted co-founded the CU Wilderness Study Group. After graduation, Ted ran the Colorado Wilderness Workshop, the only statewide preservation organization at the time. From 1975 to 1985, he was a leader of the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, campaigning to secure designation of the first wilderness areas in the Tongass National Forest. He was recognized as the most accomplished environmental leader in the country of 25 years of age or less by the Tyler Foundation.  Later, he earned a Ph.D. in geography from the University of California, Berkeley, investigating grassroots proposals for conservation and development in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil. Ted came to The Evergreen State College in 1998 and is affiliated with two planning units – Environmental Studies and Sustainability & Justice.  His students published a major book in April 2004, called Defending Wild Washington (The Mountaineers Books). His most recent research was a collaborative investigation of tribal perspectives on marine protected areas in western Washington.


Program Details

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Evening

Advertised schedule: 6-10p Wed


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning: Access to web-based tools required, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

Undergraduate Credit Option

Requires Faculty Approval

Registration Information

Credits: 4 (Spring)

Class standing: Graduate

Maximum enrollment: 15


Course Reference Number

(4 GR credits): 30101

Go to my.evergreen.edu to register for this program.