Climate Foundations: Political Ecology and Political Economy

Fall 2021
Winter 2022
Freshman - Senior
Class Size: 75
16 Credits per quarter
Variable credit options, see below
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This program incorporates Greener Foundations. Greener Foundations is Evergreen’s 2-quarter introductory student success course, which provides all first-year students with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive at Evergreen. First year students will get 14-credits from this program, and 2-credits from a Greener Foundations course. First year students will need to register for the 14-credit program CRN PLUS Greener Foundations (CRN 20008). 

A convergence of overlapping existential challenges (including ecological, economic, and health) is most clearly exemplified by the climate crisis. What economic, historical, scientific, and socio-political processes have led us to the present moment? How might we emerge from these crises as a more resilient and equitable global society? In this program, we will use science and social science to understand the root causes of the climate crisis. We will use that understanding to propose and pursue just climate actions at regional, national, and international scales.

Students will be introduced to the physical science behind climate change. At the same time, students will use the content and methods of critical social sciences (political economy and political ecology) to investigate dominant economic and ecological narratives about climate change. Using this foundation, we will examine in more depth the scientific basis as well as the structural drivers of climate change (including colonialism, capitalism, and patriarchy), as well as how they are being challenged and resisted in the US and beyond. We will learn from historical and contemporary case studies, seeking to understand them scientifically as well as through the lenses of feminist, postcolonial, decolonizing, and Marxist thought.

In winter, students will have an opportunity to undertake a significant individual project to deepen their learning. Students will work closely with each other and with faculty to carry out their projects, with public presentation of their final work. In winter quarter, several variable credit options are available to students - contact faculty to learn about the options.

In both quarters, students will engage with the material through seminars, lectures, guest speakers, films, workshops, written assignments, and presentations.

Lectures and similar whole-class activities will occur remotely via Zoom for most class sessions. Students will be able to choose between attending an in-person on-campus day of program activities or participating fully remotely via Zoom. In-person seminars and workshops will be approximately 4 hours per week, depending on public health conditions. In order to build and benefit from a strong learning community, students can expect to spend approximately 12-14 hours per week in remote and in-person activities with faculty and classmates. Students should expect to spend about 40 hours total per week (including class meeting times) to participate in remote and in-person class sessions and to complete their reading, writing, and other assignments.

To successfully participate in this program, students will need an environment where they can read and write, reliable internet access, a computer/laptop/Chromebook with a camera and microphone, word processing software, and dry erase board and markers or pen-enabled tablet. Our approach will emphasize participation in synchronous (live) remote and/or in-person sessions; however, if students find themselves unable to participate due to technology limitations, caregiving obligations, economic disruption, health risk, or illness, they can work with faculty to pursue alternate options to earn related credit.


Fall 2021 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16): 10066
Fr (14): 10069
Winter 2022 Registration

Students joining in winter will need to complete some readings from fall quarter. Please contact faculty Krishna Chowdary for a list of readings.

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16): 20129
Fr (14): 20132

Academic details

Preparatory for studies and careers in

International development, non-profit organizations, teaching, state government, and environmental law

Variable Credit Options

In winter quarter, several variable credit options are available. Contact faculty to learn about these options.

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing

$20 each quarter for supplies 


In Person or Remote
Hybrid (F)
Hybrid (W)
Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting



Date Revision
2021-12-13 This program no longer requires a signature to register for winter quarter, but students are expected to do required reading before winter quarter begins.