Environmental Awareness and Sustainable Development

Universidad Veritas

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Environmental Awareness and Sustainable Development

  • Host University

    Universidad Veritas

  • Location

    San José, Costa Rica

  • Area of Study

    Agriculture, Ecology, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Environmental Sustainability, Wildlife Biology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course name: Environmental Awareness and Sustainable Development
    Course code: ENV 4040
    Professor: M.Sc. Melania Muñoz García

    This course is an introduction to sustainable development and its basic concepts
    focused in the neotropics and Costa Rica. General topics about environmental,
    economic and social problems and actions are discussed. Costa Rica is well
    known for its conservation policies and it intends to apply sustainable
    development concepts, according to international agreements.

    By the end of this course students will have a general comprehension of the
    intricate social, economical and biological dynamics involved in preserving
    tropical ecosystems in agricultural and tourism oriented countries.

    1. Basic concepts and history of Sustainable Development
    2. Introduction to the tropics
    3. Introduction to Costa Rica
    4. Conservation in Costa Rica: National Parks and Private Reserves
    5. Biological corridors
    6. Payment of Environmental Services (PES)
    7. Río +20
    8. Sustainable Environment and Ecotourism
    9. Greenwashing
    10. Certification for Sustainable Tourism
    11. Sustainable Tourism examples in Costa Rica
    12. Climate change
    13. Biofuels
    14. Blue biotechnology
    15. Energy from renewable resources
    16. Agriculture in Costa Rica: Pineapple, Banana, Coffee
    17. Sustainable practices in agriculture
    18. Organic agriculture
    19. National Association of Volunteers in Costa Rica (ASVO)
    20. Food safety
    21. Water sequrity
    22. Poverty and sustainability
    23. Landscaping and sustainability

    News presentations
    Students will search for a new about sustainable development in a Costa Rican newspaper. It can be a national or an international new with repercussions in Costa Rica. It can be about economics, social well-being or environment. Each student will make one presentation during the course. Dates will be chosen for the students during the firsts classes. It must be 10 minutes long and include the main topics of the new, a personal opinion and a group discussion about it. Power point presentation is desirable but not indispensable. The evaluation will be 50% by students and 50% by the professor, following a form.
    Middle term cases presentations
    Professor will supply the basic information for these presentations in a pdf document. Students should complement the information and make a 10 minutes presentation. It will be evaluated based on preparation (knowledge assimilation), presentation style (organization, smoothness, oral expression and clarity), slides (clarity, aesthetics), finishing the presentation in time, and answering questions. The evaluation will be 50% by students and 50% by the professor, following a form.

    Final Assignment
    The final assignment is a free topic written report and oral presentation. The professor will give a guide of topics and each student can choose from those topics or a new one of its own interest.
    The written report is a summary of the chosen topic. The paper should be 3-4 pages (not including images), #12 Times New Roman font, 1.5 line spaces, in letter size pages and include at least 5 references (papers, resports or serious web sites). It will be evaluated based on well-defined focus, structure and conclusions.
    The presentation duration is 20 minutes plus 5 minutes for questions. It will be evaluated based on preparation (knowledge assimilation), presentation style (organization, smoothness, oral expression and clarity), slides (clarity,
    aesthetics), finishing the presentation in time, and answering questions. The evaluation will be 50% by students and 50% by the professor, following a form.

    Field trips
    This course includes two mandatory Field Trips. Lodging and main meals are covered by the course, but students should bring some extra money to buy water and other individual needs.
    The mandatory fieldtrips in this course are not excursions. Only students enrolled in this course may attend. Field work might include volunteer work such as trail cleaning, late night species monitoring, long walks on beaches or dense vegetation areas.
    Students must be on time for all fieldtrip related activities including departure, return and scheduled meal times. All though many of the reserves and parks have nearby modest lodge accommodations some of the stations or research areas might require tent lodging. Some of the national parks and reserves are in far away areas of the country or places with difficult access so students who get motion sickness from long bus rides might be uncomfortable in these fieldtrips.
    Assistance and behavior during the fieldtrip will be evaluated (punctuality, participation, etc.). Drink alcohol is prohibit during the field trips

    Field trips reports
    Students will carry small note books to write down anything they see or learn while in the field and what they think about it. Each person?s journal will be unique to them, not only in that you will each notice different things, but you will each interpret similar things differently. This journal will help the students write their fieldtrip report, which is a formal paper of your journal information. The fieldtrip report contains information of what the student sees and learns in the fieldtrip and what they think about the fieldtrip. The report should be two 1.5-spaced pages with #12 Times New Roman font, in letter size pages.

    Students must be active during the class time, give their own opinion and ask questions. This participation enriches the content of the course.
    It is important asking questions after the other partners presentations

    The student will fail the course if he/she has more than one absence. Field trips assistance is obligatory. An unjustified absence to a fieldtrip will immediately mean failing the course.

    Class assistance
    Class participation
    News presentation
    Middle term presentation
    Final Oral presentation
    Final written report
    Field trips assistance and behavior
    Field trips reports
    *10% each one

    Electronic devices:
    The use of cell phones, smart phones, or other mobile communication devices is disruptive, and is therefore prohibited during class. Please turn all devices OFF and put them away when class begins. Devices may be used ONLY when the professor assigns a specific activity and allows the use of devices for internet search or recording. Those who fail to comply with the rule must leave the classroom for the remainder of the class period.

    Certification for sustainable development (CST) web site http://www.turismo-sostenible.co.cr/
    Corvalan, C., S. Hales and A. McMichael. 2005. Ecosystems and human well-being. A report of the Ecosystem Millennium Assessment.
    Duhá, B. 2004. Ecotourism and sustainable development in Costa Rica. 29 p
    Environmental Performance Index web site http://epi.yale.edu/
    Global Peace Index web site http://www.visionofhumanity.org/gpi-data/
    Janzen, H.D. 1983. Costa Rican Natural History. The University of Chicago Press. 789p.
    Kohlmann, B., D. Roderus, O. Elle, Á. Solís, X. Soto and R. Russo. 2010. Biodiversity conservation in Costa Rica: a correspondence analysis between identifi ed biodiversity hotspots (Araceae, Arecaceae, Bromeliaceae, and Scarabaeinae) and conservation priority life zones. Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad. 81:511-559.
    Langholz, J., J. Lassoie and J. Schelhas. 2000. Incentives for Biological Conservation: Costa Rica`s Private Wildlife Reguge Program. Conservation Biology 14(6): 1735-1743
    NASA Global Climate Change web site http://climate.nasa.gov/
    Red Costaricense de Reservas Privadas web site http://www.reservasprivadascr.org/ver3/index.php?x=8
    Río +20 United Nations Conference on sustainable development 2012 web site http://www.earthsummit2012.org/
    Río Declaration Agenda 21 http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/index.shtml
    Rojas, AL: and Chavarría MI. 2005. Corredores Biológicos de Costa Rica. 216 p.
    TedTalks web site http://tedxtalks.ted.com/
    TEEB (2010) The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Mainstreaming the Economics of Nature: A synthesis of the approach, conclusions and recommendations of TEEB.
    The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity web site http://www.teebweb.org/
    TEEB 2010. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Mainstreaming the Economics of Nature: A synthesis of the approach, conclusions and recommendations of TEEB.
    UNESCO. World Network of Biosphere Reserves 2010: Sites for Sustainable Development
    United Nations. 1987. Our common future (The Brundtland Report). 300 p.
    United Nations 2002. Johanesburgo Implementation plan. 62 p.
    United Nations. 2012. The future we want. 53 p.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations


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