ENVI 18
Environmental Advocacy Skills in a Climate Changed World: A Berkshires Wind Project Case Study Winter 2024

This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

In this course, students will experience what it is like to advocate for or against a proposed clean energy project-a wind project-in the Berkshires and confront the range of critical trade-offs involved in addressing climate change. After being provided with some basics of wind power technology and impacts, through a combination of research and advocacy exercises students will alternate between advocating for the project and against it, thereby gaining insights into competing sides of controversy while also learning a range of environmental policy and legal issues as they proceed. Students will draft and orally present to their classmates a newspaper-style op-ed; will interview (using Zoom) someone working in the field of clean energy and then present to the class a summary of what was learned; will conduct in class a short examination of a witness on scenic or wildlife impact issues; and in the last class, present a closing argument that can use any combination of video, posters, slides, or other media. To gain insight into competing perspectives, each student alternates representing one side or the other exercise-by-exercise. Readings and videos will be from live links in the course syllabus, and some handouts provided by the Instructor by email or in-person. The readings will provide a concise overview of wind power technology and impacts; the legal process for review and either approval or denial of a wind project; and advocacy strategies for both written and oral efforts. There may be a field trip to a nearby (25 miles away) operating windfarm, weather and owner permitting.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 12
Expected: NA
Class#: 1163
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: Paper(s) or report(s); Presentation(s)
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: Preference to Environmental Studies majors and concentrators; after that, by lottery
Unit Notes: Jeff Thaler, a nationally recognized clean energy and environmental lawyer, also teaches at the undergraduate, graduate and law school levels. He has handled a wide range of clean energy projects, including on-and-offshore wind power.
Attributes: EXPE Experiential Education Courses
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