Center for Ecological Resilience Studies

Environmental Justice from the Ground Up

Costa Rica
Summer Session 2
4 Weeks
4 Credits
Summer 2024
Jul 8 - Aug 6
Open
Program Costs
  • Tuition$4,850
  • Room & Board$1,650
  • Total$6,500
Application Deadlines
Summer 2024
May 1, 2024
Summer Session 2 Program

Environmental Justice from the Ground Up

Atenas, Central Valley,
Costa Rica

Tackle the challenging topic of environmental justice from a community perspective. In studying this crucial subject, we find that many solutions originate with the very communities being denied access to the natural resources that sustain them. Dive deep into the themes of food sovereignty, water access and management, tourism’s impact on biodiversity, and the development of sustainable resource alternatives. Explore diverse perspectives on controversial environmental management issues, learn to conduct community-based data collection, and support community members reaching their own solutions to natural resource management and protection. 

  • Visit the cloud forests of Monteverde to learn about the transition from pastures to forests to reserves, including different perspectives on ecological and environmental justice from tourists, local communities, conservationists, and farmers. 
  • Analyze water management practices and social movements in defense of water by visiting ASADAS, a local water management committee.
  • Explore local community efforts to enhance food production and seed-saving by visiting agroecological farms and learning about sustainable farming practices. 

Academics

This academically rigorous program follows a five-day/week schedule. Most weekends are open to explore Costa Rica or relax at the Center. Each program combines theory learned during classroom sessions with field-based applications. The interdisciplinary curriculum is designed to help students actively discover and understand the complexities of environmental, social, and economic issues in Costa Rica.

Major academic themes include:

  • Climate change and tropical ecosystems
  • Agroforestry
  • Sustainable ecotourism
  • Food security, seed sovereignty, and women´s entrepreneurship in agriculture
  • Water access rights; water management and protection
  • Biodiversity analysis

Courses

On the Environmental Justice from the Ground Up program, you will take one 4-credit course. This course is participatory in nature and is designed to foster inquiry and active learning combining lectures, field exercises, assignments, and tests. This course is taught in English.

Click on the
to view a description and download the syllabus.
SFS 3232
Environmental Justice from the Ground Up
4 credits
SFS 3232

Environmental Justice from the Ground Up

4 credits

In this course, students study the complicated and critical subject of environmental justice (EJ) through three case studies:

  1. food justice and seed sovereignty,
  2. water justice and social movements, and
  3. the use of bioindicators and measurement of ecosystem services to assess ecological justice.

Coursework involves exploration of local communities’ efforts to preserve local food production and save seeds, water management in Costa Rica and social movements in defense of water, and the ecological justice implications of the transition of pastures to forests to reserves. These themes will be analyzed during lectures, discussions, and field trips. For the final component of the course, students will actively synthesize concepts and methodologies learned in class and field activities in an integrated final essay summarizing a specific aspect of the EJ issues examined here. Throughout the program, there will be room for discussion with fellow students and faculty, to provide a comprehensive introduction to EJ issues and conflicts and how to propose solutions.

View Syllabus

Core Skills

You will gain practical skills in the field such as: identification of organisms (including birds and frogs), biodiversity evaluation, conducting social surveys (including household interviews, focus group discussions, and key informant interviews), data synthesis, data analysis and interpretation, scientific writing, and tourism impact assessment methods.

Field Sites

You will visit different ecosystems and communities which may include lowland tropical rainforest, tropical cloud forests in Monteverde, communities surrounding national parks, agroecosystems, and organic farms.


Other Costa Rica Programs

Semester

Ecological Resilience Studies

15 Weeks
18 Credits
Spring 2024
Jan 30 - May 10
In the Field
Fall 2024
Sep 6 - Dec 17
Open
Spring 2025
Jan 27 - May 9
Open

More Information

Program Costs
  • Tuition$20,500
  • Room & Board$5,000
  • Total$25,500
Summer Session 1

Biodiversity and Sustainable Food Systems

4 Weeks
4 Credits
Summer 2024
Jun 3 - Jul 2
Closed

More Information

Program Costs
  • Tuition$4,850
  • Room & Board$1,650
  • Total$6,500
Summer Session 2

Environmental Justice from the Ground Up

4 Weeks
4 Credits
Summer 2024
Jul 8 - Aug 6
Open

More Information

Program Costs
  • Tuition$4,850
  • Room & Board$1,650
  • Total$6,500

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