Environmental Issues in Chile
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso
Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, Chile
Area of Study
Taught In English
Recommended U.S. Semester Credits4
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units6
Hours & Credits
PIIE 436 Environment Issues in Chile
Duration: 60 contact hours
The course aims at studying and analyzing global environmental problems of modern society. Students will discuss the causes of such problems and analyze their possible solutions.
Rationale and impact of the course
In modern trends of higher education, professor traditional teaching approach is substituted by the concept of student learning. Accordingly, the course will have a few lecture classes by the professor. The course will focus on interactive discussions about global environmental issues. During the discussions in class, every student will have the opportunity of expressing their opinions and discussing (or strengthening) their classmate opinions. The professor will select appropriate cases, articles and videos for the discussions.
Students will complete their learning by the following field trips:
1) Environmental impact of the Ventanas copper smelter (Puchuncaví valley). During the field trip, students will understand and discuss the historical effects of the smelter on ecosystems and agriculture. Students will also visit experimental plots of different soil remediation techniques.
2) Environmental impact of avocado orchards on ridges along steep-hillslopes (Quillota). During the field trip, students will observe and discuss soil erosion in these avocado orchards. Students will also visit experimental plots of different techniques to decrease the soil erosion.
Learning outcomes and expected student competencies:
The course will encourage students to obtain global environmental awareness and an informed personal opinion regarding global environmental issues. Interactive discussions will contribute to the development of oral communication, reflection capability, critical analysis of information, and respectful attitude towards different ideas and opinions. In order to incentive development of teamwork capacity, the course will be divided in groups.
Specific requirement of the course:
Students whose attendance to class will be below 80% because of certain problems (personal or health-related) will automatically fail the course.
The academic work will be evaluated on the basis of 3 group compositions. Grades of composition will consider the quality of the writing and teamwork under the following criteria:
Special attention will be given to the following aspects:
Rigorous systematic and formal language
Structure (problem, possible solutions)
Writing (clarity and consistency of ideas, well-structured paragraphs, short sentences)
Orthography and syntax
Strength of the proposal
This aspect will be evaluated based on the random selection of a representative of each group to present the composition. The student who will be absent at the moment of the presentation of the composition because of certain problems (personal and health related) will not have right to be evaluated.
Thematic unit 1: Introduction
Humans and nature: The world of complex interconnections
Concept of sustainable development: Environmental, social, and economic aspects
Thematic unit 2: Social and economic aspects
Population growth and urbanization. Globalization. Global inequality: the rich versus the poor. Food production and water availability
Thematic unit 3: Environmental aspects
Main environmental problems
Loss of natural resources: Natural habitats, natural supply sources, biological diversity, soils
Intrinsic limits of natural resources: energy, fresh water, photosynthetic capacity
Detrimental elements: toxic chemical products, alien species, atmospheric gases
Thematic unit 4: Over-consumption and the ecological crisis
Does consumption mean happiness? From consumerism to balanced consumption. The advantages of balanced consumption
Thematic unit 5: Solutions for global environmental problems
The New Century: decisions and challenges. Optimism or pessimism? Where to start? A change: education, information, and social influence.
Examples of the bibliography to be selected
Diamond, J., 2011. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. Revised Edition, Penguin Group. (Chapter of interest: The World as a Polder: What Does It All Mean to Us Today? Available as PDF).
Isaac, G., Levy, J., and Ognits, A., 2012. The Benefits of the New Economy. ARI Publishers, Toronto, ON, Canada. (Chapter of interest: Toward Balanced Consumerismin the New Economy. Available as PDF).
Laitman, M., and Ulianov, A., 2012. A Guide to the New World. ARI Publishers, Toronto, ON, Canada. (Chapters of interest: Nature and Us; Natural Development. Available as PDF).
Laszlo, E., 2006. The Chaos Point: The World at the Crossroads. Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Charlottesville, VA, USA.
ARI Institute, www.ariresearch.org
Crossroads: Labor Pains of a New Worldview, www.crossroadsfilm.com
Friends of the Earth Europe, www.foeeurope.org
Mutual Responsibility, www.mutualresponsibility.org
Sustainable Europe Research Institute, www.seri.at/en
World Economic Forum, www.weforum.org
World Wildlife Fund, www.wwf.org
World Wisdom Council, www.clubofbudapest.org/wwc.php
Worldwatch Institute, www.worldwatch.org
Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.
Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.