Human Vulnerability and Climate Change Adaptation

2 credits / 6 weeks weeks
16 Jan 2017 - 24 Feb 2017

Professor Olivia Sylvester

The course aims at understanding the impact of climate change on the global environment and on human activity.  Climate change increases risks to human livelihoods and as such may endanger the security of individuals and groups. This in turn could increase the propensity for conflict within and between states.

Components of the course will include a critical examination of the drivers of climate change, largely induced by human activity, and a review of international efforts to limit the magnitude of climate changes, including those concluded in Kyoto and Copenhagen. Consequences of climate change for human health, for economic activity, for resource use and resource availability will also be examined, as will be the options for adapting to climate change.

The examination of climate changes will be viewed within the broader context of the current demographic, economic and political global reality. Introductory comments and discussions led by the instructor will be followed by seminars with broad student input.




Olivia Sylvester

An ethnobiologist who researches food harvesting in Costa Rica. For the past decade her research program has focused on access to food in Costa Rican national parks. Specifically her emphasis has been on Indigenous rights to access and harvest cultural food. Olivia is a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the International Society of Ethnobiology, the Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage Project, and the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance. Being active within these networks allows her to work at the interface of policy and practice regarding food harvesting and access.


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