Bachelor of Arts - Environmental Governance

The Environmental Governance Program at the University of Guelph was launched in 2008 under the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences. It is a unique and interdisciplinary major that involves a variety of courses in, but not excluded to, political science, economics, human and physical geography.

Not only is the name of the major novel, but so too is its focus. As exemplified by the case of global warming, it is increasingly recognized that solving many of the world’s persistent environmental problems requires more than just enhanced scientific knowledge and improved technology; the solutions necessarily involve new ways of governing.

The term governance refers to the processes and actions through which societies and organizations operate. In Western societies, the necessary tasks of governance have traditionally been undertaken by the state – that is, by governments - using institutions such as regulatory agencies and laws. While governments have long dominated environmental management, their ability to address society’s emerging environmental expectations has been increasingly called into question. As a result, non-state actors, including citizens, non-governmental organizations, and for-profit businesses, are increasingly playing key roles in environmental management, often with the explicit approval of governments. Hence, environmental governance refers to the processes and actions through which state and non-state actors, on their own or working together, work to affect positive environmental change.

Our goal in this program is to not only understand these new players and processes, but also to contribute to enlightened governance; that is, to seek to address some of the world’s greatest environmental challenges. This two-part goal necessarily requires a multi-disciplinary approach; indeed, the Environmental Governance program owes its existence to the collaborative efforts of the Departments of Geography and Political Science, and the courses that comprise it derive not only from these two departments but also economics, resource economics, and others. Given this structure, you will find it easy to pick up a Minor in one of these traditional disciplines to complement your major.

For those seeking a better understanding of the phenomenon of environmental governance, it is suggested that you read Agrawal and Lemos (2007)

For more information, please visit the University of Guelph - Environmental Governance program page.

Program Contacts.

Program Coordinator
Dr. Ben Bradshaw
HUTT 120
519-824-4120 ext. 58460
Counselor (Geography)
Dr. Noella Gray
HUTT 121
519-824-4120 ext. 58155

Counselor (Geography)
Dr. Jennifer Silver
HUTT 344
519-824-4120 ext. 52176

© 2013 University of Guelph - Environmental Governance Society