Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2018

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Environmental Studies


John Van Buren


The world’s current geopolitical landscape is in its most fragile state since World War II, as the specter of environmental disaster due to climate change and environmental degradation lies at the center of and looms over social, political, and economic conflict. This paper incorporates applied science, social sciences, environmental science, and the humanities into an interdisciplinary analysis of the climate change debate as well as possible solutions from the conservative perspective. Chapter 1 employs quantitative and statistical data of the natural sciences of environmental chemistry and ecology. It uses data from the United Nations IPCC report on climate change to reinforce the increasingly pressing need to address the current climate crisis in terms of scientific evidence of environmental degradation as well as its direct economic cost to society. Chapter 2 draws from the social sciences, incorporating environmental politics in analyzing statistics regarding republican opposition to environmental policy, and explains why right-leaning Americans tend to do so. It presents statistics on both national environmental movements and anti-environmental movements, such as disinformation campaigns and climate denial. Chapter 3 also engages the social sciences, focusing on environmental economics and presenting the subject through a conservative lens as a potential asset to the political right. Chapter 4 utilizes disciplines of the humanities and social sciences, specifically environmental history and politics, to present the environmental crisis as a threat to national security, mainly sighting the destabilizing effects that have factored into the historical violence and insurgency seen in Middle Eastern countries. Chapter 5 incorporates the disciplines of the natural sciences and the social sciences, providing information on the adverse effects that many forms of environmental degradation have on human health. Chapter 6 again draws from the humanities and social sciences, offering recommendations for new pieces of legislation, and suggestions for individual civilians to begin effectively addressing the climate crisis in today’s world.