IHP Climate Change

The Politics of Land, Water & Energy Justice

Travel across four continents to witness the causes and social impacts of climate change and examine possibilities for local and global environmental justice.

At a Glance




Relevant previous coursework recommended

Courses taught in



Feb 6 ‎– May 18

Program Countries

Peru, Morocco

Program Base

Morocco, Peru

Critical Global Issue of Study

Climate & Environment

Climate & Environment Icon

Development & Inequality

Development & Inequality Icon


Why Study Climate Change?

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, like COVID-19, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.

Explore some of the world’s most productive and vulnerable landscapes to witness how climate change impacts regions differently and how communities are responding to the climate crisis. In four cultural and socio-ecological contexts, you’ll analyze the challenges of working toward more equitable food, water, and energy policies. Examine the problems and possible solutions with researchers, farmers, activists, social entrepreneurs, non-governmental organizations, and policymakers. In California, study the scientific basis of climate change, before heading to Vietnam, where you’ll learn about a budding organic farming movement, the complexities of sustainable development, and the challenges facing the third largest river delta in the world. In Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, you’ll meet farmers striving to modernize their agricultural practices and understand how the country, which has few fossil fuels, is embracing renewable energy. Finish in Bolivia, where the economy relies on largescale mining and natural gas extraction, even as the country, by law, recognizes the need for environmental justice.

Explore a Day in the Life of an IHP student!


  • Meet climate justice movement activists in California fighting for social change.
  • Examine the complex nexus of food, water and energy systems in Vietnam.
  • In Morocco, see how energy and agricultural policy impact local communities.
  • Grapple with increasing tensions between the environment and development in Bolivia.


None, although previous coursework in political science, economics, and/or environmental science is recommended.

Program Sites

United States: San Francisco

(2 weeks)

Starting in the San Francisco Bay Area, study environmental justice and how race, class, and gender are key social determinants of vulnerability to climate impacts. Meet activists involved in the climate justice movement, and delve into U.S. federal climate policy and the history of global climate change diplomacy. See the fossil fuel industry’s effects on low-income communities in Richmond, and learn about urban food justice efforts in Oakland. Visit a massive wind farm in the Delta and learn about California climate adaptation and mitigation initiatives in Sacramento.

Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Hoi An, Hanoi

(4 weeks)

Begin in the Vietnam capital city of Hanoi. From there, head to Danang on Vietnam’s central coast, where you will learn how hydropower impacts local watersheds and visit farmers who are part of a budding organic farming movement in the region. In Hoi An and Cham Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, learn about the pressures of tourism, sustainable development, and climate adaptation in a culturally rich and biologically sensitive area. Finally, travel to the Mekong Delta to learn about climate change in one of the most complex, productive, and vulnerable regions in the world.

Morocco: Rabat, Casablanca, the Atlas Mountains

(4 weeks)

In the port city of Rabat, Morocco’s capital and diplomatic center, examine the complex social and political issues facing this country on the front lines of climate change. Travel to the Atlas Mountains, where you will visit a community working to preserve its local water source, and meet with farmers striving to modernize their small-scale agricultural practices. You will visit an organic farm training center near Marrakech, and in Ouarzazate, you’ll visit one of the largest solar power plants in the world.

Bolivia: Cochabamba, La Paz, Lake Titicaca

(5 weeks)

The program concludes in Bolivia, which passed a law in 2010 recognizing the “rights of Mother Earth,” yet remains economically dependent on large-scale mining and natural gas exports. You will be based in Cochabamba, where you will observe grassroots efforts in climate adaptation through agroecology, and communal water management projects. You will also travel to La Paz, Bolivia’s seat of government, and to Tiwanacu and Lake Titicaca, where you will learn about Andean Cosmovision and consider indigenous perspectives on sustainability. Reflect on your semester learning experience in the end-of-semester retreat to the tropical lowlands of Santa Cruz.

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.



Access virtual library guide.

The following syllabi are representative of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term. The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

Please expand the sections below to see detailed course information, including course codes, credits, overviews, and syllabi.

Key Topics

  • How people respond to environmental injustice across nations and continents
  • Government, civil society, and individual action for social change in the climate crisis
  • Combining new technologies and old traditions to create sustainable futures
  • What prevents us from more effectively addressing the climate crisis

The Science and Policy of Climate Change

The Science and Policy of Climate Change – syllabus
(ENVI3010 / 4 credits)

This course unpacks the basic science of the climate system by examining the state-of-the-art science collated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and through regular engagement with scientists and researchers. The course also aims to critically engage with the science/policy interface. Students examine local, regional, and national mitigation and adaptation strategies as a matter of social policy, and learn about environmental governance mechanisms at local and regional levels, national climate policy frameworks, and global climate change negotiations. They also learn to analyze the multiple discourses on climate change that circulate in national and global policy circuits.

Political Economy and Environmental Change since 1492

Political Economy and Environmental Change since 1492 – syllabus
(ECON3010 / 4 credits)

This course analyzes the development and history of modern capitalism on a global scale. Topics of consideration within this context include state formation, war, imperialism, technology, energy, environmental change, economic crisis, and “long waves of accumulation.” There is a particular focus on post–World War II developments, including the rise of Keynesianism globally; the role of socialist economies; the political economy of the Cold War; Third World development; the global crisis of profitability in the 1970s, the resultant economic restructuring, and the turn toward neoliberalism; the acceleration of neoliberalism and its deepening crisis; and the possibility of alternative economic models.

Comparative Issues in Food, Water, and Energy

Comparative Issues in Food, Water, and Energy – syllabus
(SDIS3070 / 4 credits)

This course looks at land, agriculture, water, and energy systems, and the attendant resources upon which these sectors depend. Students visit farms, fishing communities, powerplants, water management sites, and more while examining the political ecology of natural resource sectors using case studies and place-based analysis. Excursions and fieldwork will complement detailed studies of these resource sectors to experience, observe, and understand more concretely the multi-scalar impacts of regional and global forces on the landscapes, communities and economies of California, Vietnam, Morocco and Bolivia.

Fieldwork Ethics and Comparative Research Methods

Fieldwork Ethics and Comparative Research Methods – syllabus
(ANTH3500 / 4 credits)

This course enables students to understand and benefit from field-based learning processes. It provides students with skills related to gathering, analyzing, and interpreting information from a range of sources, maximizing the knowledge provided by local contexts. The course intends to assist students in assessing their own cultural assumptions and in understanding people from different cultures. Students are familiarized with the World Learning/SIT Human Subjects Review Policy. The seminar provides a framework for a qualitative research project involving data collection and comparative analysis to be undertaken in each of the countries visited.

Homestays / Housing

Homestays / Housing

Live with a host family for between two and five weeks at each program site, with the exception of the first location. Homestays are your primary form of accommodation on the program; other accommodations can include guest houses, hostels, dormitories, and/or small hotels.

Family structures will vary. For example, a host family may include a single mother of two small children, or a large extended family with many people coming and going. Please bear in mind that the idea of what constitutes a “home” (i.e., the physical nature of the house) may be different from what you would expect. You will need to be prepared to adapt to a new life with a new diet, a new schedule, new people, and possibly new priorities and expectations.

Students may be placed in homestays in pairs, with placements made to best accommodate health concerns, including allergies or dietary needs. Information about homestay families will only be available upon arriving in each country.

Other Accommodations

Other accommodations during the program include hostels, research institutes, or small hotels.

Career Paths

Recent positions held by alumni of this program include:

  • Research assistant for the United Nations, conducting work in Ecuador

  • Truman Scholarship recipient, continuing research at the postgraduate level

  • Fulbright recipients, returning to work in the countries the program visits

  • Intern at EcoPeace Middle East, Amman, Jordan

Faculty & Staff

IHP Climate Change: The Politics of Land, Water & Energy Justice

The faculty/staff team shown on this page is a sample of the individuals who may lead your specific program. Faculty and coordinators are subject to change to accommodate each program’s unique schedule and locations.

Nicolas Stahelin, EdD
Program Director
Anna Gail Caunca, MA
Program Manager
Jawad Moustakbal
Country Coordinator, Morocco
Krishna De Orellana
Interim Country Coordinator
Phuong Hoang, MA
Country Coordinator, Vietnam
Sarah White, PhD Candidate
Launch Coordinator
Duygu Avci, PhD
Traveling Faculty (Spring 2020)
Meraz Mostafa, BA
Trustees’ Fellow (Spring & Fall 2020)
Olivia DiNucci
Trustees’ Fellow (Fall 2019)
Rick Miller, PhD and MArch
Traveling Faculty

Discover the Possibilities


    SIT Study Abroad is committed to making international education accessible to all students. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000 for semester programs and $500 to $3,000 for summer programs. This year, SIT will award more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students.

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    Explore a Day in the Life of an IHP student!

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