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PPGA 591E Special Topics in Public Policy - TOPS PUBLIC PLCY

Offerings respond to current policy debates, topics of emerging interest, availability of visiting scholars, and interest in non-traditional courses incorporating practitioner expertise, interest in particular disciplinary perspectives missing from core courses and electives, and interest in specific regions or countries.

This course is not eligible for Credit/D/Fail grading.

Credits: 3

Status Section Activity Term Interval Days Start Time End Time Comments
RestrictedPPGA 591E 001Web-Oriented Course2 Thu14:0017:00

This course is titled Human Rights and the Environment and is cross-listed with RES 500H. Limited seating may be available to non-MPPGA students. Please contact the program (

One of the most dynamic and exciting areas of law and policy today lies at the confluence of human rights and environmental protection. Whether it is the right to a healthy environment, the right to water, or the rights of nature, the legal landscape is struggling to respond to the global environmental crisis precipitated by the new geological epoch known as the Anthropocene.

Through a critical examination of international, constitutional, legislative, and jurisprudential developments, the course seeks to provide participants with a strong foundation and new insights into this dynamic field. Innovative comparative research techniques made possible through the Internet and online translation tools will also be highlighted.

A central theme will be evaluating the differences between human rights on paper and their realization in practice. Students will be expected to engage in critical thinking about the effectiveness, efficiency, and equity of laws, policies, and institutions intended to protect human rights, while considering the broader ecological, political, social, and economic context.

A major element of the course will be a collaborative research project that provides evidence about human rights violations stemming from sacrifice zones in various regions of the world. Sacrifice zones are communities that suffer from catastrophic levels of hazardous pollution. This research will feed into a report that will be officially presented to the United Nations (either the Human Rights Council or the General Assembly).