Water, like religion and ideology, has the power to move millions of people. . . . People move when there is too little of it. People move when there is too much of it. . . People fight over it. And all people, everywhere and every day, need it.
-- Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, president of Green Cross International
Water is both a local and a global resource: it is fundamental at the most basic, individual level and it is intertwined with national, regional, and international affairs. Today, nearly one billion people — roughly one out of seven people on the planet — are “water deprived,” meaning they do not have enough freshwater to ensure their basic sanitation, irrigation, or drinking needs. With the world’s population expected to grow by 2.5 billion people by 2050 (mostly in areas of the world that are already water deprived), freshwater will be a critical challenge of the 21st century.
Overpopulation, urbanization, pollution, food security, energy, corruption, technology, human rights, governance, and climate change, just to name a few issues, are all intimately connected to water availability. This course will link these and other issues with three main themes:
• balancing competing demands for freshwater,
• ensuring human and environmental health, and
• cooperating across borders.
Several case studies from around the globe, illustrating the use and abuse of water, will be considered.
Upon completion of this course, students will better understand: water challenges and opportunities throughout the globe, how governments and non-government organizations function in water management, and the differences and similarities of water issues between developing and developed nations. Students will also have honed their writing skills, skills essential to successful employment and graduate work in the field.
Students will be expected to read critically, reflect on lectures and readings, engage actively in discussion, and display solid writing skills.
Course requirements: Active participation; two papers; take-home final exam; and other small assignments related to current events.
This course assumes a basic foundation in environmental policy and international affairs, usually provided in 100- and 200-level PITE and political science courses. Students who are interested in reading, active participation, and improving their writing skills are invited to enroll in this course.
Course Format and Skills Gained: This course will consist of readings, lectures, discussions, and writing assignments in the form of papers and short essays (there will be no midterm or final exams). Students will be expected to read critically, reflect on lectures and readings, engage actively in discussion, and display solid writing skills.