Capitalism and the Global Environment

Final Research Paper
“Capitalism and the Global Environment”
Question: Most environmentalists today focus on the damage being done to the Earth’s
ecosystem by humans, and propose ways in which we might work collectively to ameliorate the most serious threats. They largely believe that these changes can be accomplished within the dominant global structure of capitalism.
However, a small but growing group of researchers and activists are beginning to question whether such changes can in fact occur within the context of a global capitalist system. Examine the critical literature on the subject to answer the question: can today’s most difficult environmental challenges be successfully overcome, as long as the global economic system remains capitalist?
Sample Outline
(But feel free to design your outline any way you wish)
I. Introduction / Thesis Statement – a brief statement outlining your position or something
relevant about this issue.
II. Body – the bulk of the paper is here, in data taken from the readings and other evidence you have found in support of your position.
a. The following authors (found on website) support the traditional perspective (i.e.
that environmental problems can be successfully addressed within a capitalist structure).
Please make sure to include arguments from all of them (Hardin, Hawkin, Homer-Dixon,
b. The following authors (found on website) support the critical perspective (i.e. that
environmental problems cannot be solved successfully within a capitalist structure). Please make sure to include arguments from all of them (Beder, Magdoff, Foster, Polychroniou, Butler, Williams, Wallis).
c. Data taken from the film A Really Inconvenient Truth.
d. Any other authoritative research you find through your own investigations.
III. Conclusion – Based on your reading of the critical interpretation, your position on whether or not humanity and our environment will survive capitalism. Is global socialism a viable alternative?
1. Type all work, using the American Psychological Association’s (APA) publication
format. Make sure to include an in-text citation every time you use a statement or an idea from the readings that I have provided, or that you found in your own independent research.
Papers without proper citation will be returned without a grade. Papers re-turned in will
receive a late penalty.
2. “A” papers will be:
a. fully documented and cited
b. a minimum of 13 pages (including title, abstract, and reference page)
c. research beyond the authors provided
d. turned in on time (December 12, 2012)
e. 5% reduction in final grade for “drop offs”

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