IHP Climate Change: The Politics of Food, Water, and Energy

Explore the social impacts of climate change through the political economy of food, water, and energy in some of the world’s most productive and vulnerable landscapes.

This newly launched study abroad program examines the interconnections between the economics, politics, geography, and science of climate change and its effects on human society. The program takes place in the US, Vietnam, Morocco, and Bolivia. 

Students will learn about the varied impacts of climate change — extreme weather, desertification, ocean acidification, melting glaciers, rising sea levels, loss of biodiversity, and dangerous social upheavals — and will be encouraged to think seriously about realistic solutions.

Examine the concepts of adaptation and mitigation.
The program focuses on two key concepts that involve physical and technological changes as well as social and political transformations:

  • Adaptation. Adaptation refers to how human civilization will adjust to the dramatic environmental changes that are inevitable and already underway. 
  • Mitigation. Mitigation refers to the steps humans are taking in industry and agriculture to reduce their impact on the environment.

Engage policymakers, scientists, business people, farmers, climate refugees, and others
Students will meet with high-level policymakers and powerful business people involved in the food, energy, mining, transportation, and financial sectors. They will also meet with rural and urban working class people struggling to cope, such as farmers, fishermen, and climate refugees. They will examine the basic science of climate systems through regular engagement with scientists and researchers.

Analyze and contrast climate change across the globe.
Through the program’s comparative approach, students will track how a single global crisis plays out differently in distinct places and will compare and evaluate economic and policy responses at the local, national, and international scales. The program will assist students in assessing their own cultural assumptions and in understanding people from different cultures.

Key Questions:

  • How is climate change impacting regions differently? How are people adapting to these changes?
  • What are the appropriate roles of government, business, social movements, and individuals in addressing this multifaceted crisis?
  • Which technologies and traditional forms of local knowledge can realistically meet humanity’s need for energy in a sustainable way?
  • What are the economic interests and institutional arrangements that prevent us from more effectively addressing the climate crisis?

The Letters Home are written by students on this program, with help from the Trustees Fellow, at the end of each country program. Letters from the current academic year can be found at the Letters Home blog. We hope you enjoy reading about our students’ experiences!
Request Information
Apply Now
Continue My Application

Credits: 16

Duration: Fall or Spring, 15 weeks

Program Sites:
USA, Vietnam, Morocco, Bolivia

Prerequisites: Coursework in political science, economics, and/or environmental science recommended. Learn More...

Fall Itinerary

Climate Change Fall Itinerary

Student Evaluations

View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations


Connect With Us

Connect icons

888.272.7881 (toll-free in US)



Mailing Address:
PO Box 676, 1 Kipling Road
Brattleboro, VT 05302 USA

Contact us by email.