For all papers, keep in mind these writing tips and grading checklist (PDF).

Blog Posts

General guidelines for posting your digital communication project on the blog:

  • Write a separate post, with an appealing title and a visually attractive design.
  • If your project is a video, audio, or other where you want your audience to 'follow' a link, 'click,' take a survey, or 'do' something, make sure of giving your audience some context and motivate them to do what you want them to do. In some few lines, inform and motivate. For instance:
    1. Write some lines that clearly state what this is about.
    2. Invite them to "learn more," "test what they know," "join you and others."
    3. Use language that might be familiar to your audience, but that reflects the complex nature of your theme.
    4. Feel free to add some pictures/figures (remember to add the link and/or its source).
    5. Play the role of your target audience and ask yourself, why should I care about this? Why should I keep reading this, or follow the link?
  • On the "Categories and tags" section on the right column make sure to add keywords that represent the content of your project in the 'Tags" section. People looking for particular information on the blog (or myself when grading your projects) can find these particularly useful.

Paper 1

Please write an essay addressing ONE of the following questions. Your essay should be between 1000 and 1500 words. Please also consider:

  • For this essay, you should use (discuss, reference, quote) at least 5 of the readings from session 1–5.
  • While developing your argument include the analysis of 2–3 case studies (countries/environmental conflicts/regions).
  • You should bring a draft (printed copy of at least 700 words) to session 6.
  • A complete draft (100-1500 words) should be submitted (printed copy) on session 7. This draft is part of your final grade.
  • A final version must be submitted by session 9.


  1. Science and technology are critical factors enhancing environmental sustainability at multiple scales. However, in the arena of policy and behavioral change, they have usually had a limited sphere of action. How will social, cultural, ethical, economic, and political dimensions play a role in shaping the outcomes of future efforts addressing energy, food, and water security from a local and global perspective?
  2. Experts and the general public usually believe that 'developing' or 'underdeveloped' countries are economically and politically 'weak' to develop national or transnational agendas for environmental protection. A closer analysis, however, shows a more complex picture. What will be the main opportunities and challenges among 'developing' countries to implementing a water-energy-food nexus approach fostering environmental governance in the future?

Paper 2: Providing Expert Advise

Industrial farming of crop, fish, and livestock presents several challenges regarding pollution, resource exhaustion, and environmental policy, both globally and locally. The nation of Wakanda, one of the leaders in environmental governance in the developing world, is considering a new set of policies aiming the integration of its production systems in agriculture, animal husbandry, and fisheries. The initiative stands on the assumption that the combination of these systems can lead to more efficient use of natural resources, long-lasting environmental protection, and diversification of the economy.

Wakanda's president recently created an interagency commission to address the challenges and opportunities in developing a policy framework of this nature. The interagency commission has called for a group of experts including: industrial leaders, worker's unions, local communities, scientists, social scientists, policy scholars, and foreign experts on comparative environmental governance.

You are one of the members of this last group. Your job is to advise how to better discuss, design, and implement a policy framework considering ecological, social, economic, and political aspects.

Your report should address how the history of other environmental issues around the world can offer lessons for Wakanda's new challenge. What kind of aspects/dimensions the Wakanda's state, the interagency commission, and the rest of the stakeholders invited by the commission should consider when discussing, designing, and implementing this new policy framework? What lessons can be drawn from other case studies?

Specific instructions:

  • To better address these lessons in your report, you can either focus on 3–4 case studies (eg. New England's fisheries, California rigs-to-reefs debate, or Peruvian fishing industry) or 3–4 aspects (ecological, social, economic, or political, each of them drawn from different case studies).
  • You must use all the readings from sessions 6–9 and at least 3 posts/discussions from the blog. You are also encouraged to integrate readings from the previous weeks.
  • Although this is an expert report, it should follow a similar structure and address similar argumentative goals as in the previous paper. Remember, your main objective is to make an argument and convince the commission and rest of the stakeholders of the validity and relevance of your points and evidence. But also, effectively contribute with your expertise to the creation of a better policy framework that could serve as a model for similar experiences in developing and developed countries around the world.
  • Your report has a limit of 2000-2500 words. You should bring a printed copy of a draft of 1000 words + outline to session 11's peer review session.

Final Project: Essay & Digital Communications Project

Tips for picking a topic:

  • Choose a problem that is useful to show what you have learned in this class. Nexus approach? Social or political dimensions of technology? Social histories of institutions, policy entrepreneurs, or bilateral activists? socioecological impacts of production/consumption systems?
  • Pay attention to what problem/theme/topic might be professionally useful for you in the future. Something that you can show you have researched in the past? Something that could serve as the first exploration for a future research or project?
  • Pay attention to what kind of narrative(s) you want to contribute/challenge. Social (in)justice? Environmental degradation? Innovation and sustainable development? Environmental policy and governance? Is it a narrative that calls for action? Is it a narrative that calls to pay attention to drivers and consequences of environmental degradation? Does it blame polluters, consumers, policy-processes, or cultural values? Does it propose solutions and concrete actions?
  • Pay attention to what professional and personal skills you would like to develop or put into practice. Do you consider yourself an expert on molecular biology and want to study algae farming? Or you're tired of biology and want to complement that by studying the social movements against GMOs? Choose a theme where you can use or compliment your expertise/or area(s) of interest. Can you read or speak (or both) a language other than English? Choose case studies and sources so you can use those language skills. Using those skills will help to bridge social or expert communities.
  • And more importantly, choose a topic that makes you happy. It is your project. Being happy, having fun, and being excited about your project is mandatory.

Guidelines for the written paper:

  • The paper should have between 2000 and 2500 words (draft due April 24 should include at least 1000 words + outline) 
  • Follow the writing tips, checklist, and guidelines used for the previous papers. Here, as before, I will pay attention to how you frame and support your argument and the use of evidence.

Guidelines for the digital communication project:

  • You can choose any format that you want. Here some suggestions: videos, infographics, podcasts, social media experiments.
  • Choose a format that allows you to use your artistic/communication skills or develop new ones. Explore, experiment, be creative.
  • You decide the format, length, and other details, but consider these essential points while determining what communication project you want to develop:
    • Who will be the target audience?
    • The main goal of the communication project is to effectively translate and communicate the complex academic discussion from your paper into a format and a language that is accessible for non-expert audiences.

Other important information to consider:

  • Both final paper and digital communication project are due on session 25.
  • We will have presentations of the digital communication projects during the last week of class.
  • For some of you that believe in the power of number-based incentives, please remember that each part of the final project (the paper and the communication project) count for 20% of your final grade. Which means that together they represent 40% of your final grade.