Hydraulic Fracturing in Michigan (2015-12)

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Jun 15, 2016
Bruno Takahashi

This case study exposes students to a framework to examine complex socio-environmental (S-E) systems, using hydraulic fracturing (HF) in Michigan as an example. This framework will allow students to examine other complex socio-environmental systems. This case study applies an interrupted case approach to explore the relationships between state level policymaking, environmental science, public discourse, media coverage, and risk perceptions. Michigan has a long history of HF, but new technical developments, as well as a push for energy independence at the state level, and controversies in other states over the technology (e.g. New York and Pennsylvania), have raised public concerns in the state.

Estimated time frame: 
Multiple class periods
SES learning goals: 
  • Understand the structure and behavior of socio-environmental systems
  • Consider the importance of scale and context in addressing socio-environmental problems
  • Co-develop research questions and conceptual models in inter- or trans-disciplinary teams
  • Find, analyze, and synthesize existing data, concepts, or methods
Has this been tested in the class room: 
Course and class size: 
Environmental Journalism (6 students)
Does this case have an answer key: 
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