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

Credits

16

Prerequisites

Relevant previous coursework recommended

Courses taught in

English

Dates

Feb 7 – May 22

Program Countries

Morocco, Nepal, Peru, United States

Program Base

USA, Morocco, Nepal, Peru

Critical Global Issue of Study

Climate & Environment

Climate & Environment Icon

Development & Inequality

Development & Inequality Icon

Overview

Why a Comparative Study of Climate Change?

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 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. In Nepal, you will be uniquely located in a country that is vulnerable to climate change but has numerous initiatives to tackle this global challenge. The course here will offer a chance to interact with numerous experts, communities, and institutions across the Nepalese Himalayas. In Peru, you will discuss and envision a world where traditional cultural knowledge and indigenous epistemologies shape the way we work for a more just and sustainable future.

Explore a Day in the Life of an IHP student!

Photos on this page may depict program sites from previous semesters. Please view the Program Sites section of this page to see where this program will travel.

Highlights

  • Meet climate justice movement activists in California fighting for social change.
  • See how energy and agriculture policy impact local communities in Morocco.
  • Examine the complex nexus of food, water, and energy systems in Nepal.
  • Learn traditional ecological knowledge systems in the Peruvian Andes and Amazonia.

Prerequisites

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

Program Sites

United States: San Francisco, California

(10 days)

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 impacts on low-income communities in Richmond and learn about urban food justice efforts in the Bay Area.

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.

Nepal: Kathmandu, The Langtang Valley, Terai

(4+ weeks)

With a predominantly agrarian society in fragile mountain ecosystems, Nepal has one of the highest climate change vulnerability profiles in the world. You will develop your understanding of the region’s mountain people, their livelihoods, and the relevance of Himalayan ethnic identities and language endangerment to matters of equity and environmental security. You will learn about the biophysical and socioeconomic impacts that melting glaciers, shifting rainfall patterns, droughts, and floods are having on both highland and downstream agrarian communities. Furthermore, you will examine how Nepal’s relationship to the global climate financing mechanism affects its climate policies focusing on adaptation and transition to a low-carbon economy.

Peru: Andes: Cuzco/Sacred Valley - Amazonia: Madre De Dios/ Puerto Maldonado

(4+ weeks)

Peru encompasses one of the most biodiverse regions in the world with unique and complex vulnerabilities to climate change. Through site visits in two of Peru’s main bioregions, the Andean highlands and the Amazonia lowlands, you will examine issues related to food security, water scarcity, land conflicts, human rights, and indigenous knowledge, tourism and sustainable development practices, and how these issues intersect with the challenges brought about by climate change.

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.

Academics

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to: 

  • Explain the basic science of climate change at global and regional scales. 
  • Describe how colonization, industrialization, capitalism, and neoliberal globalization have contributed to the unprecedented growth of carbon (and other GHG) emissions. 
  • Clarify the role of science and technology in providing solutions to climate change, but also the limitations of technical fixes or purely technological approaches. 
  • Assess the role of the state, markets, and civil society, including social movements, in the production and management of natural resources, and in environmental governance more broadly. 
  • Recognize the complex interplay between local, national, and global scales of development and environmental governance to show how political systems contextualize environment and development policies. 
  • Explain the relationship between climate change and environmental justice, including the ways in which climate change impacts are socially differentiated across race, class, gender, and geography.  
  • Synthesize in research papers and presentations a critical awareness of one’s positionality and the power dynamics in qualitative research, including the histories of exploitation in academic research, to consider the ethics and responsibilities in field research. 

Read more about Program Learning Outcomes.



Coursework

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.


This is SIT

  • We value active togetherness, reciprocity, and respect as the essential ingredients for building a sustainable community.
  • With open minds, empathy, and courage, we facilitate intercultural understanding and respect for the commonalities and differences between people.
  • We champion social inclusion & justice in all that we are and all that we do, from ensuring our community and our programs amplify the voices, agency, and dignity of all people to deliberately instilling the principles and practices of inclusion in all of our work.
  • We are committed to human and environmental well-being through sustainability and contributing to a better world for all living and future generations.

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 and climate change 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.

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 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; 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 Morocco, Nepal, and Peru.

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

Accommodations

Student accommodations will include a mix of homestays, hostels, guesthouses, and small hotels/dorms.  Students will experience homestays where possible, given COVID-19, and will be oriented as they move from place to place.

More About Homestay Experiences:

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.

In most cases, students will 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.

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
Jawad Moustakbal
Country Coordinator, Morocco
Alex Alvarez, PhD
Academic Director, Peru
Yanik Shrestha
Country, Coordinator, Nepal

Discover the Possibilities

  • Cost & Scholarships

    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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  • A DAY IN THE LIFE OF IHP

    Explore a Day in the Life of an IHP student!

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