Environmental organizations, scientists, teachers and musicians have been among those to bring attention to the alarming rate of environmental change in Latin America. From deforestation in the Amazon Basin to soil erosion in southern South America, reversing the trend of environmental degradation in Latin Aerica is critical to improving the well-being of the region's inhabitants. This course provides an introduction to environmental issues in Latin America by outlining the historical, political and socioeconomic forces that have driven environmental change in the region. This will provide context for a first-hand examination of urban environmental issues in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. After a series of meeting during the fall semester, students will travel to Buenos Aires for two weeks during the January intersession. Through on-site analysis of issues related to air and water quality, housing, nutrition, public health, municipal waste disposal, and the preservation of open space, students will develop an appreciation and understanding of the environmental problems and challenges facing large Latin American urban areas.
During the fall semester there will be a series of pre-departure meetings and events, which will be arranged at mutually convenient times. These meetings will prepare students for a two-week visit to Argentina during the January intersession. Classroom discussion and field instruction will be in English; however, occasional guest speakers and field-trip guides will present in Spanish. In addition to students interested in environmental studies, the program is also relevant to students studying geography, international relations, history, urban studies, and Latin American studies.
Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina, is one of the largest cities in the world and home to one of the southern hemisphere's most important port facilities. Often referred to as the "Paris of Latin America," Buenos Aires is resplendent with magnificent architecture, beautiful parks and plazas, and a vibrantly diverse cultural life that reflects the complex mix of its criollo (native) and immigrant-derived population. With its distinctive historical neighborhoods, excellent museums, wonderful (and affordable!) restaurants, bookstores, theaters, musical venues (from folklorico and tango to classical, jazz and rock), Buenos Aires is a window into the evolving character of Latin America.