From our Students

Many students in the Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University, work on questions related to environmental politics. This page is dedicated to their achievements.

Laura Wise – The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People and the struggle against resource exploitation in the Niger Delta

Laura is an undergraduate student in International Politics and the Third World. In her extremely well researched and eloquently written essay for Carl Death’s module on Global Environmental Politics  she looked at “The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People and the struggle against resource exploitation in the Niger Delta.”

In the abstract, written for the online publication, Laura explains the main aims of her essay. “This essay assesses the impact that the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has had on the resource exploitation by international oil companies and the subsequent environmental destruction that has been occurring in the Niger Delta since the 1950s. The author reviews the theoretical characteristics used to define MOSOP as an ‘environmental social movement’, and highlights the limitations of making a definite judgement of a social movement’s ultimate success or failure. She uses examples of MOSOP activities which can be viewed as both achievements and pitfalls of the Ogoni struggle, to conclude that there is a strong case for refusing to view MOSOP as a failure, and that it remains a key player in the fight for human and environmental rights in the Niger Delta.”

Laura ends her essay with a quote by Ken Saro-Wiwa, one of the Ogoni activists who were executed in 1995: “Lord take my soul, but the struggle continues.”

Read the full essay here.

Nick Morgan – What does ‘Sustainable Development’ mean?

Nick is an undergraduate student in International Politics at Aberystwyth University. His well researched and strongly argued essay was written for Carl Death’s module on Global Environmental Politics and later revised for publication here. Nick takes a critical look at the concept of sustainable development and criticizes the Western model of economic and social development.

In the following abstract he explains the aims of his essay. “This essay will attempt to frame Sustainable Development, as it was interpreted by the 2002 Johannesburg Summit on Sustainable Development, as a continuation of the unequal and exploitative relationship between the global North and South.  Outcomes of the summit will be analysed from green and political ecology perspectives, to demonstrate the shallow, tokenistic, and overly anthropocentric approach taken to deal with environmental and poverty issues.  This essay concludes that the North uses the Sustainable Development discourse to protect its advantaged position while only appearing to be committed to resolving the problems of poverty and environmental degradation.”

Read Nick’s essay here.

David Fischer – Sustainable Development and Governmentality: Marginalization, Voicelessness, Dependency

David is an undergraduate student in International Politics at Aberystwyth University. His essay was written for Carl Death’s module on Global Environmental Politics and later revised for publication here. David takes a look at the sustainable development through the lense of Foucault’s governmentality and “conduct of conduct”. He focuses on the Brundtland Report and Agenda 21 and develops a persuasive analysis of the “voicelessness of developing countries”

He summarizes the essay in his abstract as follows: “This paper treats sustainable development as a discourse and provides a critique of it using Foucault’s notions of ‘governmentality’ and ‘conduct of conduct’. It argues that the discourse of sustainable development creates an advanced liberal governmentality that empowers affluent nation-states, international organisations, corporations and Western scientists as new authoritative actors in the discourse. On the other hand, developing countries, the global poor and NGOs are being subjectified and co-opted in order to create governable subjects, whose freedom of environmental and economic action can be restricted to fundamentally neoliberal policies, resulting in a new voicelessness and dependency especially for developing countries and the global poor.”

You can read the full essay here.

Rebecca Lock – How effective is liberal democracy in tackling contemporary environmental problems?

Rebecca is an undergraduate student in International Politics and Spanish at Aberystwyth University. She wrote this essay for Carl Death’s module on Global Environmental Politics and later revised it for publication here. In her well argued essay, Rebecca considers the link between liberal democracy, but focuses specifically on a developing country context. Her case is Bolivia and the reforms of president Evo Morales.

In her abstract, she decribes her aims as follows: “When considering the effectiveness of the liberal democratic system in tackling environmental problems, most academic literature is focused on the developed world, in particular (and unsurprisingly) on the United States. Yet some of the most interesting and complex case studies in this field can be found in the developing world, where countries have had the burden of trying to develop with a greater spotlight on their environmental policies than ‘first world’ ever had. This essay focuses on Bolivia’s Evo Morales, a controversial political figure, in order to consider the ways that leaders of developing countries can look to restructure the democratic system in order to pursue a more environmentally sustainable path to development.”

You can read the full essay here.

Kaisa Pietila – How effective is global governance in tackling contemporary environmental problems?

Kaisa is an undergraduate student in International Politics and the Third World at Aberystwyth University. Her essay was written as part of Carl Death’s module on Global Environmental Politics and later revised. In her eloquently argued and thought provoking essay Kaisa examines global governance in the context of environmental problems. Specifically, she looks at free trade agreements and environmental provisions, the US-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement being her case study.

She describes the project in her abstract: “Global governance seeks to tackle contemporary environmental problems through inter alia environmental policies and laws. The problem global environmental governance faces is that the policies and laws it creates are not implemented in full and they often lack sanctions to treaty violators. This essay explores how linking free trade agreements and multilateral environmental agreements together could make global environmental governance more effective by giving the environmental treaties more enforcement power. An example of such an agreement – the US-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement – shows that even though having environmental annexes in free trade agreements can work successfully from nature’s point of view, combining environment and trade under one agreement is problematic and will not provide an ultimate answer to the environment-trade debate.”

The full essay can be accessed here.

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