World Interdependence – Current Global Issues (Section 1 Focus: Water as a Global Issue) [CRN 77162]

Discipline: International Education
Instructor: Bolton
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 1210
End: 1330
Field Work: Day 1 - Tuesday, 22 November | Peru
Prerequisites: None Download Syllabus

Water makes life as we know it possible. Every drop cycles continuously through air, land, and sea, to be used by someone (or something) else “downstream.”   Not only is freshwater not uniformly distributed around the globe, but climate change and human population growth are increasing the pressures on water resources.  Water is also at the core of sustainable development. Water resources, and the range of services they provide, underpin poverty reduction, economic growth and environmental sustainability. From food and energy security to human and environmental health, water contributes to improvements in social well-being and inclusive growth, affecting the livelihoods of billions. Port countries will provide a focus for understanding the range of interdependence issues faced in different geographic locations and provide an international awareness of the specific issues surrounding water. Through case studies, readings and lectures this class will investigate linkages between water, food, energy, and human and environmental health on a local to global scale.

 Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the role of water through time in the development of civilization
  • Understand the water-food energy nexus across a global to local scale
  • Appreciate the issues related to human health with respect to water and sanitation
  • Recognize the role of water in providing ecosystem services
  • Understand the concept of water footprints and virtual water
  • Critique current media coverage of select water issues

Field Work

Country: Peru
Day: 1 - Tuesday, 22 November

After a predeparture meeting with Jorge (Coco) Alarcon, we will visit a successful water/coastal ecological restoration site in the Port of Callao called La Punta. We will walk there from the ship (~ 20 minutes) and meet with locals in charge of the project. Following this activity, we will visit the organization that is working on restoring ancient Inca Canals in Lima to learn about how the system used to function and how they are trying to revitalize it. We will also make brief stops to observe the Rimac and Chillon Rivers, two of the rivers that supply most of the water to the 9 million residents of Lima. After lunch, we will visit a fog collection site in Lomas de Zapallal, an informal settlement on the northern edge of Lima that has been installed as a collaboration between the community and the Informal Urban Communities Initiative.  We will walk to the fog collection site and talk with the community leaders in charge of the fog collection system. We will also discuss the now, almost extinct, Lomas Ecosystem that survived on fog. After returning to the ship, there will be a short debriefing about the experience. Learning objectives:

  1. Gain an understanding of the current state of water resources in Lima
  2. Be able to describe potential ‘alternative’ solutions to meet the upcoming water crisis in Lima
  3. Gain an appreciation of the role of water in native ecosystems