Case Presentation and Discussion

Students are required to give a 15 minute presentation on environmental movements, mobilization, or participation within a self-selected national or sub-national context. Students will then lead a 20-30 minute discussion of the case. The goal of the discussion is to examine how the case relates to and illustrates key course themes and readings. One reading (preferably a case study) should be selected and given out one week in advance to facilitate discussion. Three or four questions should also be prepared in advance that will guide the discussion. All work is courtesy of the student named and used with permission.

Week 4: Transnational Civil Society Engagement in China: A Case Study of the Nu River in Yunnan Province (Erik Nielsen)

Significant social and cultural impacts are associated with dam construction and operation that overlap the resettlement planning and environment impact assessment activities. In China, one of the most recent and contentious cases of dam building is on the Nu River, located in a remote part of Yunnan Province. In the case of the Nu River project, there are multiple stakeholder groups with substantially different interests over how the river should be managed. This case will examine: hydropower dam development on the Nu River and the growing diversity of stakeholders involved with the project; an analysis of how the Chinese policy-making process evolved as greater constituents or 'publics' became engaged in the decision-making process; and how this policy-making process failed to effectively adapt so government decisions could be sustained and ultimately implemented.

Litzinger, Ralph. "Protecting the Mighty Nu: Hydroelectric Schemes, Media Activism, and the Search for the Grassroots." Duke University, working paper.

Yardley, Jim. "China's Premier Orders Halt to a Dam Project Threatening a Lost Eden." New York Times, April 9, 2004.

Letter written by Mr. Chainarong Sretthachau (Southeast Asia Rivers Network) on December 16, 2003 to China's Ambassador to Thailand entitled "Petition to China for 83 Organizations from Thailand/Myanmar on Upper Salween Dam."

Review the following Web sites:

Southeast Asia Rivers Network

Rivers Watch East and Southeast Asia

International Rivers Network

Oxfam America: East Asia

Greenpeace: APP Illegal Logging in Yunnan

China and the Asia-Pacific: Forest Markets for Sustainable Livelihoods and Forests

Week 6: EcoLogic Finance: A Trisector Solution? (David Fogelson)

EcoLogic Finance Case Discussion Questions (PDF)

Ecologic Finance is a nonprofit small/medium enterprise finance organization funding mostly FairTrade certified coffee growers in Latin America in the hopes that by sustainably developing, they are protecting ecologically sensitive areas. The case explores a variety of questions to find out where this approach works, the caveats, and the opportunity to use a private/public/non-profit model for future environmental issues.

Reaping Coffee Harvests with Timely Access to Trade Credit

Berry Sales to U.S. Offer Security to Amazon Farmers

Ecologic Finance

Week 7: Civil Society and Environmental Governance in the Middle East (Nancy Odeh)

This case study examines the origins and activities of one environmental NGO's in Iran, the Centre for Sustainable Development (CENESTA). CENESTA is a member of the World Conservation Union and is affiliated with the University of the North (Iran). CENESTA works with a range of actors from local communities in rural areas in Iran to national governments and inter-governmental entities. One of CENESTA's most recent initiatives included facilitating the sustainability of biodiversity and livelihoods in nomadic pastoralism in Iran.


World Alliance of Mobile Indigenous Peoples (WAMIP)

Civic Entrepreneurship Series (CENESTA wrote the regional West Asia chapter in Volume V) (This resource may not render correctly in a screen reader.PDF - 1.8 MB)

Week 8: Rio Grande/Rio Bravo Shared Water Dispute: Where North Meets South (Randall Coffie)

An international NGO’s Front (INF) as an effective mediator (facilitator) in the solution of transboundary water disputes.

Forming a lifeline through the arid Chihuahuan desert, the Río Grande/Río Bravo is one of North America's most important river basins. A treaty signed in 1944, when population was a fraction of what it is today, and when large-scale irrigated agriculture was just coming into its own, governs its allocation between the U.S. and Mexico. Sixty years later, the transboundary portion of the basin is now home to over 10 million people and growing, but irrigated agriculture still accounts for 80 to 90% of surface water diversions. The vulnerabilities of this system have been on display for the last several years, as a deep and persistent drought in northern Mexico, combined with an inadequate binational water management framework, led to a serious binational dispute over Mexico's water delivery obligations under the 1944 Treaty. Because it accounts for so much water use and because it provides a livelihood for tens of thousands of basin residents, irrigated agriculture has been at the center of this dispute. This case study focuses on the roles that were played in the dispute by international and national organizations such as the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) and the Rio Grande Rio Bravo Basin Coalition (RGRBBC) and Universities including Texas Austin, Nuevo Leon and TEC de Monterrey.

Mizrahi, Yemile. "Mexico and the USA Quarrel over Shared Waters." Federations 5 (2002): 5-6.

Center for Strategic and International Studies. US-Mexico Transboundary Water Management: The Case of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo. Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2003. (PDF - 1.5 MB)

Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission. "Texas-Nuevo Leon, Strategic Environmental Plan: A Framework for Cooperation." 2005. (PDF)

Bloom, Greg. "The Rio Grande/Rio Bravo Basin Coalition: A Multinational Organization Dedicated to the River." 2001.

Herzog, Lawrence A. Where North Meets South: Cities, Space and Politics on the USA-Mexico Border. Austin: Center for Mexican American Studies, University of Texas, 1990.

Week 9: Development and Reform of the Friends of Nature: A Case Study of the First Environmental NGO in China (Student 1)

The Evolution and Reform of the Friends of Nature (PDF)

The Friends of Nature (FON) was founded in 1994. It is the first and largest environmental NGO in China. During the past decade, especially the last four years, the FON developed very quickly. It has more than 2,000 individual members and around 100 affiliate association members. The main program of FON is environmental education, which includes tree planting, bird watching, and rural teacher training. FON is a non-profit organization, funding itself by membership fees, domestic public support and international foundation grants. FON now faces challenges of internal reform with respect to its management structure, program tactics and strategy in the relationship with state and local governments. Shifting from its first decade to the second, FON is going to expand its programs and functions into two main directions: to shift from public awareness to public participation for environmental education and strengthen its interaction with government and its role in governmental decision making processes.

Lee, Klaudia. "Friends of Nature Fights to Raise Awareness of Green Issues." South China Morning Post, March 11, 2005.

Wang, Peter. Friends of Nature's Membership Survey and Analysis. 2004.

Lappin, Todd. "Can Green Mix with Red?" The Nation, Feb 14, 1994.

Review the following website: Friends of Nature

Week 10: U'wa vs. Oxy: Civil Society Resistance to Oil Development in Colombia (Emily Greenspan)

The U'wa indigenous group includes approximately 5,000 members and inhabits remote forest territory in Northeast Colombia. The U'wa strongly oppose oil exploitation on their ancestral lands based on deeply held traditional beliefs regarding natural resources. When, in 1995, the Colombian government granted the U.S. based Occidental Petroleum (Oxy) an exploration permit for the Siriri block - a portion of which overlaps with U'wa territory - the U'wa immediately launched advocacy efforts to terminate the project. This case examines the interactions between various stakeholders in response to the development project, including the U'wa, Colombian government, Oxy, international nongovernmental organizations, and guerilla groups that pervade the area. Particular attention is given to strategies and tactics adopted by civil society both nationally and internationally, and the challenge of achieving conflict resolution in the context of extremely diverse interests.

Macdonald, Theodore, S. James Anaya, and Yadira Soto. "The Samoré Case: Observations and Recommendations." Organization of American States/Harvard University Project on Colombia.

Earth Island Journal, "Al Gore and Big Oil Genocide," 15, no. 2 (2000). Academic Search Premier.

Jeffrey, Paul. "U'wa vs. 'Oxy.'" National Catholic Reporter 36, no. 39 (2000). Academic Search.

Soltani, Atossa and Kevin Koenig. "U'wa Overcome Oxy." Multinational Monitor 25 (2004).

Review the following website: Amazon Watch

Week 11: Development and Activities of the Urban Ecology Collaborative (Lindsay Campbell)

This case examines a small network of nonprofit and public partners in Boston, New Haven, New York, Pittsburgh, Washington, DC, and Baltimore called the Urban Ecology Collaborative. We will examine the history of this group, focusing first on the personal and professional relationships of the founders that led to the creation of the UEC, and then consider funding sources that the group has accessed and communication strategies it has used. This selective, multi-city cooperative effort will be compared with other common collaborative structures that are more place-based or more broadly inclusive, considering the advantages and disadvantages of each. The second half of the discussion will examine the results of one specific project of the UEC - the Urban Ecology Collaborative Assessment - an organizational survey that was used to understand the broad capacities, patterns, and gaps of the stewardship networks in each city.

Baltimore Long Term Ecosystem Research Web site

Urban Resources Initiative Web site

Urban Ecology Institute Web site

Parks and People Web site

Nine Mile Run Web site

Casey Trees Endowment Fund Web site