Course Description

Course Name

Costa Rican Environmental Policy

Session: VSJF1121

Hours & Credits

60 Contact Hours

Prerequisites & Language Level

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.


Complete Course Title: Costa Rica's Environmental Policy: A History of Policy, Politics and ActionCourse Description:
This course will explore the dynamics of environmental management, environmental histories, policy, politics and ACTION in the case study of Costa Rica and beyond. It will study environmental history and policy at a regional and national level; it will explore the emergence of Costa Rica's cutting edge environmental politics and governmental commitments (the greening of the public sector and carbon neutrality and others); it will look back at Costa Rica's conservation history and critically review its conservation and sustainable development model; it will present an understanding of the 'state of the nation and region' in regard to environmental indicators (land use methods and statistics, deforestation and reforestation data, contamination and waste indicators); it will identify the individuals and organisations working on taking authentic action in environmental protection; it will take a close look at how government policy translates into practice by reviewing cases studies of community and grassroots action in forestry, organic farming, recycling, cooperatives, and women's environmental groups; and lastly, it will address some of central issues and challenges facing these activities and the resultant environmental conflicts.

The course will focus on three major research questions (from the abstract, to the theoretical, on to the conceptual and concrete action): 1) Can Costa Rica claim to be at peace with nature? 2) What environmental policy and practice has and is taking place? And 3) what is the quality of Costa Rica's conservation initiatives, sustainable development proposal, and subsequent environmental protection?
The student will be expected to critically review Costa Rica's environmental action, participation, commitments and challenges. You will put these in their historical, regional and international context. You will learn how to spot trends, features, successes and failures in environmental policy and action. You will be part of a dynamic exploration and will get first hand research experience visiting local communities, NGOs, government offices and environmental groups. You will become confident exploring and identifying environmental political plays and processes.

This course will prepare you with a thorough introduction of how you will be able to take ACTION in the environmental sector, develop your citizenship skills, and help you to appreciate the workings and failures of environmental policy.

Areas to cover:

- The history and context of conservation and sustainable development politics and policy.
- Costa Rica's and Central America's Environmental indicators and statistics.
- Environmental policy (government level and community application).
- The greening of the public sector, and other institutional greening commitments and challenges.
- Environmental conflicts.
- Possible Case Studies:
> Oscar Arias, the PLN and the Peace with Nature political and policy approach.
> PAC and environmental policy commitments and recent outcomes.
> The history of Costa Rica's grassroots action and struggles.
> Climate change denial.
> The political spectrum and environmental ideologies.
> The urban space and environmental policy issues.

*Course content subject to change