SOC 363. Environmental Crime

Application of criminal justice to the surrounding natural environment from legal, ethical, and social perspectives.

This course explores the nature, causes and prevention of environmental crime.  Specifically it examines the many ways in which governments, corporations, military apparatuses, criminal organizations and individuals routinely harm ecosystems, humanity and animal life.  Eco-criminology assumes that environmental crime and the failure of our laws to improve the quality of our environment are attributable to our collective beliefs; it does not accept at face value the notion that “environmental crime” is simply about breaking the law.  Thus, we will examine the cultural and social structural foundations of environmental crime, including the social control institutions, as well as the power dynamics involved in defining, prosecuting and officially sanctioning environmental crime.  We will systematically explore the dynamics of racism, sexism and class as they impact perceived realities of “environmental crime”.  We will look at alternative definitions found in philosophy and legal perspectives and we will look at environmental crime theory for fuller understanding.


Clifford, Mary & Edwards, Terry D. (2011) Environmental Crime. 2nd Ed.  Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Reece, Erik. (2007) Lost Mountain: A Year in the Vanishing Wilderness Radical Strip Mining and the Devastation of Appalachia. Riverhead Trade.

Brisman et al. 2015, Environmental Crime and Social Conflict: Contemporary and Emerging Issues