Fall 2021 - REM 356W D100

Environmental Policy (3)

Class Number: 5697

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM
    SSCK 9500, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    One of REM 100, GEOG 100, GEOG 111, or EVSC 100; and 45 units.



Provides an overview of policy and governance approaches used to manage the natural environment at the international, national, provincial, regional, and local levels. Presents a basic set of evaluative questions that can be used to determine the effectiveness and efficiency of different approaches to regulate and manage the environment. Students with credit for REM 356 may not take this course for further credit. Writing.


Course Description:
What is “policy” in the context of the natural environment and social-ecological systems? How is environmental policy shaped, and by whom? This course provides an overview of basic types of policy frameworks related to the environment, including key legislation, agencies, and actual policies that currently aim to regulate our use of the natural environment at international, national, provincial, regional, and local levels. Students will be challenged and enabled to dissect how environmental policy is currently designed, and understand what types of goals and implementation strategies might be most useful. We will draw from real-world examples as much as possible, including from oceans, forests, urban design, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda 2030.

Course Details:
The REM 356W course includes a weekly two-hour lecture and one-hour tutorial. A portion of the lectures will provide space for feedback and questions on prior lectures and assignments. Assignments will mainly consist of short essays on course themes, with specific topics chosen by students, with a longer final essay at the end of the course. Students will be expected to read or watch materials prior to most lectures, and all materials will be made available on Canvas.


Students who have completed this course should be able to:

  • Identify, synthesize, and apply key theories and practices that inform environmental policy.
  • Define policy goals and policy instruments and analyze and model policy making processes related to the environment.
  • Identify different types, definitions, and theories of governance used to manage the environment.
  • Understand and critique the policies, systems, and processes that organizations use to legislate, plan, and manage the environment.


  • Quizzes 15%
  • Written Assignments 65%
  • Other Assignments 20%



All course material (readings, lectures, assignments, etc.) are available on the course Canvas page. Some examples of the required readings or videos are included below:

Hopwood, B., Mellor, M., O’Brien, G. 2005. Sustainable Development: Mapping Different Approaches. Sustainable Development 13: 38-52.

Acaroglu, L. 2013. Why We Need to Think Differently About Sustainability. TEDx. https://youtu.be/5lOSIHWOp2I

Singh, G.G., Harden-Davies, H., Allison, E.H., Cisneros-Montemayor, A.M., Swartz, W., Crosman, K.M., Ota, Y. 2021. Will understanding the ocean lead to “the ocean we want”? Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 118 (5): e2100205118 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2100205118

Rockström J., et al. 2009. Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity. Ecology and Society 14(2): 32 www.jstor.org/stable/26268316.

CBC News. 1995. The war over logging in the Clayoquot woods is over. https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1809313245

Coffey, B. 2016. Unpacking the politics of natural capital and economic metaphors in environmental policy. Environmental Politics, 25(2), 203-222.

Doyon, A., Moore, T., Moloney, S. & Hurley, J. 2020. Evaluating evolving experiments: the case of local government action. Journal of Planning and Environmental Management, 63(11): 2042-1063.

Thompson-Fawcett, M., Ruru, J., Tipa, G. 2017. Indigenous Resource Management Plans: Transporting Non-Indigenous People into the Indigenous World. Planning Practice & Research 32(2): 259-273.

Williams, S., Doyon, A. 2020. The Energy Futures Lab: A case study of justice in energy transitions. Environmental Innovations and Societal Transitions. 37, 290-301.

Von der Porten, S., Ota, Y., Cisneros-Montemayor, A.M., Pictou S. 2019. The role of Indigenous resurgence in marine conservation. Coastal Management 47(6): 527-547 doi.org/10.1080/08920753.2019.1669099

Franklin, A. 2017. The more-than-human city. The Sociological Review 65(2): 202-217.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.