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Environmental Management: A Bottom-Up Approach to Policy Implementation

Discover how a bottom-up approach to environmental issues can have a huge impact on environmental policy delivery.

329 enrolled on this course

Environmental Management: A Bottom-Up Approach to Policy Implementation

329 enrolled on this course

  • 4 weeks

  • 3 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
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    $244.99 for one whole yearLearn more

Understand how the bottom-up approach functions

The bottom-up approach to environmental policy consists of individuals such as activists and entrepreneurs influencing policy through action on the ground level. This approach has shown to be extremely effective in motivating change.

On this four-week course from the Adam Smith Centre, you’ll delve deep into the concept of the bottom-up approach to environmentalism. Through this, you’ll gain knowledge of the process, its implementations, as well as its advantages over the top-down approach.

Explore case studies to see real-world applications of the bottom-up method

While inspiring, the bottom-up approach can be hard to implement in a real-world context.

On this course, you’ll have access to dynamic and interesting case studies that showcase examples of individuals who have successfully used the bottom-up method to make a difference. From this, you’ll gain insight into the impact of local self-governance and understand how to apply these principles in your own environment.

Discover the impact of Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom on resource management

Elinor Ostrom was a political economist and Nobel Prize winner, renowned for her work in economic governance and resource management policy.

You’ll learn about Ostrom’s work to understand how her methodology influenced environmental policy-making and governance. You’ll then be equipped to use her Ostromian principles in your own environmental work.

Use your knowledge to implement public policy and inspire change

Affecting change as an individual actor can seem daunting. There are a number of obstacles that can obstruct your path.

With guidance from the experts at the Adam Smith Centre, you’ll discover how to use experimentation and out-of-the-box thinking to overcome these challenges and influence real change from the bottom-up.


  • Week 1

    Who is Elinor Ostrom?

    • Course introduction

      How do we manage scarce resources? Who is Elinor Ostrom and how can her insights be applied to real-life case studies?

    • Early life

      Elinor Ostrom had humble beginnings and she later broke the glass ceiling in the male-dominated field of economics.

    • Overcoming obstacles

      What were some milestones in Ostrom's intellectual journey?

    • End of Week 1

      Let's discuss what we've covered this week.

  • Week 2

    Bloomington School of Political Economy

    • Polycentricity

      Elinor Ostrom proposed polycentricity as a viable alternative to top-down, bureaucratic forms of management.

    • Self-governance

      Institutions and systems of trust are inherent in most communities, leading to varying degrees of effective self-governance.

    • End of Week 2

      Let's discuss what we've covered this week.

  • Week 3

    Bottom-up approaches to resource conservation

    • Changing our perspective

      Why is a bottom-up approach to environmentalism worth consideration?

    • Tragedy of the commons

      The tragedy of the commons refers to the unsustainable exploitation of resources. Is this situation always inevitable?

    • End of Week 3

      Let's discuss what we've covered this week.

  • Week 4

    Bottom-up approaches to climate change

    • Polycentric climate governance

      Ostrom’s contribution to climate governance prompted a distinct departure from the usual top-down, central management prescription.

    • Climate action by communities and companies

      How are communities and companies leading the clean energy transition?

    • End of Week 4

      Let's discuss what we've covered in this final week.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Investigate the intellectual paradigm pioneered by Elinor Ostrom
  • Summarise the importance of public policy principles such as polycentricity, local self-governance and experimentation
  • Explain how bottom-up solutions were used to improve environmental outcomes
  • Explore creative ideas from the Ostromian toolkit to tackle climate change

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for students pursuing studies in environmentalism, economics, business, public policy, and other socio-economic fields.

It will also be beneficial for professionals in the sustainability, public policy, public or private sectors.

Who will you learn with?

Dr. Erik Nordman is Professor of Natural Resources Management at Grand Valley State University, Michigan, and is an expert in environmental economics.

Dr. Bryan Cheang is an academic political economist from King's College London. His research is on economic development and public policy. He also is the Founder of the Adam Smith Center, Singapore.

Who developed the course?

Adam Smith Center

The Adam Smith Center is an independent, non-profit organisation in Singapore dedicated to economics and public policy education.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$244.99 for one whole year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$134/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 18 Jun 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 3 June 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 3 June 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

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