An introductory graduate core course on the scope of social scientific contributions to environmental and natural resource issues. Section I presents an overview of the field and course. Section II deals with the way that environmental problems are initially framed. Case studies focus on placing problems in their wider political context, new approaches to uncertainty and failure, and the importance of how the analytical boundaries to resource systems are drawn. Section III focuses on questions of method, including the dynamics of working within development projects, and the art of rapid appraisal and short-term consultancies. Section IV is concerned with local peoples and the environment, with case studies addressing myths of tropical forest use and abuse development discourse, and with the question of indigenous peoples and knowledge.