- San Francisco, United States
- Program Type:
- Study Abroad
- Degree Level:
- Fall Semester, Spring Semester
- Program Description:
Explore the social impacts of climate change through the political economy of food, water, and energy in some of the world’s most productive and vulnerable landscapes.
This newly launched study abroad program examines the interconnections between the economics, politics, geography, and science of climate change and its effects on human society. The program takes place in the US, Vietnam, Morocco, and Bolivia.
Students will learn about the varied impacts of climate change — extreme weather, desertification, ocean acidification, melting glaciers, rising sea levels, loss of biodiversity, and dangerous social upheavals — and will be encouraged to think seriously about realistic solutions.
Examine the concepts of adaptation and mitigation. The program focuses on two key concepts that involve physical and technological changes as well as social and political transformations:
•Adaptation. Adaptation refers to how human civilization will adjust to the dramatic environmental changes that are inevitable and already underway.
•Mitigation. Mitigation refers to the steps humans are taking in industry and agriculture to reduce their impact on the environment.
Engage policymakers, scientists, business people, farmers, climate refugees, and others Students will meet with high-level policymakers and powerful business people involved in the food, energy, mining, transportation, and financial sectors. They will also meet with rural and urban working class people struggling to cope, such as farmers, fishermen, and climate refugees. They will examine the basic science of climate systems through regular engagement with scientists and researchers.
Analyze and contrast climate change across the globe. Through the program’s comparative approach, students will track how a single global crisis plays out differently in distinct places and will compare and evaluate economic and policy responses at the local, national, and international scales. The program will assist students in assessing their own cultural assumptions and in understanding people from different cultures.
•How is climate change impacting regions differently? How are people adapting to these changes?
•What are the appropriate roles of government, business, social movements, and individuals in addressing this multifaceted crisis?
•Which technologies and traditional forms of local knowledge can realistically meet humanity’s need for energy in a sustainable way?
•What are the economic interests and institutional arrangements that prevent us from more effectively addressing the climate crisis?
The program takes a holistic, interdisciplinary view of academic topics, drawing not only on articles and faculty lectures, but also student observations, guest lectures, and homestay interviews to facilitate learning. Assignments typically involve written essays, oral presentations, and more creative projects such as posters and photo stories.
A major portion of the curriculum will be based on field trips, interviews, and guest lectures. The field trips and interviews must be structured around the core themes of the curriculum as laid out in the four classes. In addition to classroom time and field trips, students will have time to reflect on and write about their learning and experiences on the program. At the end of the program, students will produce a cumulative project involving data collection and qualitative research undertaken in each of the countries visited.
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- Setting Description:
- California: San Francisco
Bay Area, Central Valley, and the California-
Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City, Central Highlands, and Mekong River
Morocco: Based in Rabat with excursions to Casablanca, the Atlas Mountains, and the Sahara
Bolivia: Based in Cochabamba with excursions to La Paz, Lake Titicaca, Potosí, and the salt flats of Salar de Uyuni
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Additional Program Information
- Scholarships Description:
- Please see our website for more information.
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