12.103 | Fall 2005 | Undergraduate
Strange Bedfellows: Science and Environmental Policy


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session


Our goal is to provide you with a sense of how science is - and sometimes is not - used to guide environmental policymaking. We will explore the contrasting languages and goals of science and civics in the context of case studies. These will be drawn from four options at the discretion of the class participants: Global Warming, Bioreserves (with a focus on fisheries), DDT/Malaria, and Nuclear Waste Disposal.

Students will divide into teams to explore how science was used or misused in the development of policy in these specific cases. Ultimately, we hope to brainstorm about better ways to inform policy through solid science.

Subject Structure

Meetings will include lectures, class discussions, tutorials, and team meetings.


For lectures and group discussions, we have assigned specific readings that are available in the readings section. In addition, there are three writing assignments and each paper must be revised and resubmitted by each student independently. Obviously, outside sources must be referenced appropriately, and each student must do his or her own work on the writing assignments. Each team will also be responsible for a final report on the case study assigned to them. This will be an oral report during one of the last sessions of the term.




activities percentages
Class Attendance and Participation 30%
Written Assignments 40%
Team Presentation 30%
Course Info
Learning Resource Types
assignment_turned_in Written Assignments with Examples
assignment_turned_in Presentation Assignments with Examples