Topics in Environmental Policy: Energy Policy/Food Policy


This seminar is offered annually in the spring and covers current topics in environmental policy. The class is held jointly with first year students, allowing the two classes to work together and share perspectives.

The Energy Policy Seminar provides an interdisciplinary review of the technology, economics, and politics of energy production, distri­bution, and use by humans with a focus on policy-level decisions, including recent events shaping a changing landscape. The course provides an overview of policy frameworks, available technologies, and analytic tools followed by an in-depth review of current systems and the New York State’s “Reforming the Energy Vision” (REV) proceedings, which seek to change the landscape.

The Food Policy Seminar investigates the influence of federal agriculture policy by exploring the Farm Bill and Clean Air and Clean Water Acts and the degree of influence they have on farming practices, role of large multinationals on food systems, food justice issues, critiques of “local food,” controversies around the USDA National Organic Program, GMO labeling laws, competi­tion created by biofuels for land and water resources, and how crop insurance is playing a role in the loss of land enrolled in Conservation Reserve Programs, among other topics.