Course Description

Course Name

Environmental Awareness and Sustainable Development

Session: VSJW1120

Hours & Credits

60

Prerequisites & Language Level

Overview

CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS
Course name: Environmental Awareness and Sustainable Development
Course code: ENV 4040
Professor: M.Sc. Melania Muñoz García

COURSE DESCRIPTION
This course is an introduction to sustainable development and its basic concepts
focused in the neotropics and Costa Rica. General topics about environmental,
economic and social problems and actions are discussed. Costa Rica is well
known for its conservation policies and it intends to apply sustainable
development concepts, according to international agreements.

OBJECTIVE
By the end of this course students will have a general comprehension of the
intricate social, economical and biological dynamics involved in preserving
tropical ecosystems in agricultural and tourism oriented countries.

COURSE CONTENTS
1. Basic concepts and history of Sustainable Development
2. Introduction to the tropics
3. Introduction to Costa Rica
4. Conservation in Costa Rica: National Parks and Private Reserves
5. Biological corridors
6. Payment of Environmental Services (PES)
7. Río +20
8. Sustainable Environment and Ecotourism
9. Greenwashing
10. Certification for Sustainable Tourism
11. Sustainable Tourism examples in Costa Rica
12. Climate change
13. Biofuels
14. Blue biotechnology
15. Energy from renewable resources
16. Agriculture in Costa Rica: Pineapple, Banana, Coffee
17. Sustainable practices in agriculture
18. Organic agriculture
19. National Association of Volunteers in Costa Rica (ASVO)
20. Food safety
21. Water sequrity
22. Poverty and sustainability
23. Landscaping and sustainability

METHODOLOGY
News presentations
Students will search for a new about sustainable development in a Costa Rican newspaper. It can be a national or an international new with repercussions in Costa Rica. It can be about economics, social well-being or environment. Each student will make one presentation during the course. Dates will be chosen for the students during the firsts classes. It must be 10 minutes long and include the main topics of the new, a personal opinion and a group discussion about it. Power point presentation is desirable but not indispensable. The evaluation will be 50% by students and 50% by the professor, following a form.
Middle term cases presentations
Professor will supply the basic information for these presentations in a pdf document. Students should complement the information and make a 10 minutes presentation. It will be evaluated based on preparation (knowledge assimilation), presentation style (organization, smoothness, oral expression and clarity), slides (clarity, aesthetics), finishing the presentation in time, and answering questions. The evaluation will be 50% by students and 50% by the professor, following a form.

Final Assignment
The final assignment is a free topic written report and oral presentation. The professor will give a guide of topics and each student can choose from those topics or a new one of its own interest.
The written report is a summary of the chosen topic. The paper should be 3-4 pages (not including images), #12 Times New Roman font, 1.5 line spaces, in letter size pages and include at least 5 references (papers, resports or serious web sites). It will be evaluated based on well-defined focus, structure and conclusions.
The presentation duration is 20 minutes plus 5 minutes for questions. It will be evaluated based on preparation (knowledge assimilation), presentation style (organization, smoothness, oral expression and clarity), slides (clarity,
aesthetics), finishing the presentation in time, and answering questions. The evaluation will be 50% by students and 50% by the professor, following a form.

Field trips
This course includes two mandatory Field Trips. Lodging and main meals are covered by the course, but students should bring some extra money to buy water and other individual needs.
The mandatory fieldtrips in this course are not excursions. Only students enrolled in this course may attend. Field work might include volunteer work such as trail cleaning, late night species monitoring, long walks on beaches or dense vegetation areas.
Students must be on time for all fieldtrip related activities including departure, return and scheduled meal times. All though many of the reserves and parks have nearby modest lodge accommodations some of the stations or research areas might require tent lodging. Some of the national parks and reserves are in far away areas of the country or places with difficult access so students who get motion sickness from long bus rides might be uncomfortable in these fieldtrips.
Assistance and behavior during the fieldtrip will be evaluated (punctuality, participation, etc.). Drink alcohol is prohibit during the field trips

Field trips reports
Students will carry small note books to write down anything they see or learn while in the field and what they think about it. Each person?s journal will be unique to them, not only in that you will each notice different things, but you will each interpret similar things differently. This journal will help the students write their fieldtrip report, which is a formal paper of your journal information. The fieldtrip report contains information of what the student sees and learns in the fieldtrip and what they think about the fieldtrip. The report should be two 1.5-spaced pages with #12 Times New Roman font, in letter size pages.

Participation
Students must be active during the class time, give their own opinion and ask questions. This participation enriches the content of the course.
It is important asking questions after the other partners presentations

Attendance
The student will fail the course if he/she has more than one absence. Field trips assistance is obligatory. An unjustified absence to a fieldtrip will immediately mean failing the course.

EVALUATION
Class assistance
10%
Class participation
10%
News presentation
10%
Middle term presentation
10%
Final Oral presentation
20%
Final written report
10%
Field trips assistance and behavior
10%
Field trips reports
20%
TOTAL
100%
*10% each one

Electronic devices:
The use of cell phones, smart phones, or other mobile communication devices is disruptive, and is therefore prohibited during class. Please turn all devices OFF and put them away when class begins. Devices may be used ONLY when the professor assigns a specific activity and allows the use of devices for internet search or recording. Those who fail to comply with the rule must leave the classroom for the remainder of the class period.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Certification for sustainable development (CST) web site http://www.turismo-sostenible.co.cr/
Corvalan, C., S. Hales and A. McMichael. 2005. Ecosystems and human well-being. A report of the Ecosystem Millennium Assessment.
Duhá, B. 2004. Ecotourism and sustainable development in Costa Rica. 29 p
Environmental Performance Index web site http://epi.yale.edu/
Global Peace Index web site http://www.visionofhumanity.org/gpi-data/
Janzen, H.D. 1983. Costa Rican Natural History. The University of Chicago Press. 789p.
Kohlmann, B., D. Roderus, O. Elle, Á. Solís, X. Soto and R. Russo. 2010. Biodiversity conservation in Costa Rica: a correspondence analysis between identifi ed biodiversity hotspots (Araceae, Arecaceae, Bromeliaceae, and Scarabaeinae) and conservation priority life zones. Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad. 81:511-559.
Langholz, J., J. Lassoie and J. Schelhas. 2000. Incentives for Biological Conservation: Costa Rica`s Private Wildlife Reguge Program. Conservation Biology 14(6): 1735-1743
NASA Global Climate Change web site http://climate.nasa.gov/
Red Costaricense de Reservas Privadas web site http://www.reservasprivadascr.org/ver3/index.php?x=8
Río +20 United Nations Conference on sustainable development 2012 web site http://www.earthsummit2012.org/
Río Declaration Agenda 21 http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/index.shtml
Rojas, AL: and Chavarría MI. 2005. Corredores Biológicos de Costa Rica. 216 p.
TedTalks web site http://tedxtalks.ted.com/
TEEB (2010) The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Mainstreaming the Economics of Nature: A synthesis of the approach, conclusions and recommendations of TEEB.
The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity web site http://www.teebweb.org/
TEEB 2010. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Mainstreaming the Economics of Nature: A synthesis of the approach, conclusions and recommendations of TEEB.
UNESCO. World Network of Biosphere Reserves 2010: Sites for Sustainable Development
United Nations. 1987. Our common future (The Brundtland Report). 300 p.
United Nations 2002. Johanesburgo Implementation plan. 62 p.
United Nations. 2012. The future we want. 53 p.

*Course content subject to change