This course will analyze the environmental effects of globalization through a lens of economic and political justice, while seeking solutions that are sustainable and beneficial. This course will focus our analysis on the growing disparity between those who have access to clean and safe resources versus those who increasingly do not. In doing so we will analyze the role of the West, and Western multinational corporations, in exacerbating the challenges faced in the Global South. We will analyze how it is frequently the poor and ethnic minorities that bear a disproportionate burden in dealing with toxic contamination and the health problems associated with it.
We will take a proactive approach to analyzing the “tools” available to increase the use of sustainable practices. We will discuss how issues like the air quality problems associated with China’s reliance on coal; the challenge of rising ocean levels on the Mekong Delta; the effects of deforestation in West Africa; and the problem of water utilization in the Sahel may appear to be “local” challenges in the countries we are visiting, but indeed have striking parallels with problems that we face in the United States.
Field WorkCountry: South Africa
Date: March 20, 2017
In understanding the correlation between Globalization, Sustainability, and Development it is important to understand the challenges that developing societies face when it comes to achieving a sustainable future. We will tour the Isivunguvungu Wind Energy Converter to understand both the opportunities as well as challenges of producing renewable energy in South Africa. Then we will tour the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation to better understand on the ground efforts to confront the history of racism in South African society and better understand efforts to promote racial harmony and cross-cultural bridge building in the New South Africa. Lastly, we will take a two hour walking tour of the Langa Township with a local guide to better understand the challenges that South African living in poverty face, as well as local efforts to confront endemic poverty in a globalizing world.
1. To understand the current application of renewable energy in South Africa.
2. To understand how South Africa's troubled history of racial injustice complicates current efforts at racial reconciliation and the quest for justice.
3. To see how on the ground efforts by local residents in townships are helping to raise people out of poverty and adapt to socio-economic challenges in the New South Africa.