Climate change may well be the most pressing environmental challenge facing humankind. Yet despite scientific consensus on its main cause – us – politicians and governments still lack the will and ambition to tackle the crisis effectively. Instead we see cities, companies and NGOs responding. They have become the driving forces behind innovative tools for behavioural change, creating a complex alternative web of institutions, instruments and actors seeking to govern climate change at the global level. WHO SHOULD JOIN? Master or PhD students and professions with an interest in climate action and policy. If you have doubts about your eligibility for the course, please let us know. Students who are in their final year of bachelors studies or have obtained a full bachelors degree are able to register for this course. Our courses are multi-disciplinary and therefore are open to students and professionals with a wide variety of backgrounds. COURSE CONTENT On this course you examine different approaches to coping with climate change, from international agreements to market-based solutions and private activities. Theory is mixed with practice through lectures, discussions, games and excursions to provide concrete examples of how the issue is being addressed at various levels and by various actors. Along the way we invite you to question scientists, policymakers and lobbyists. Governing Climate Change is embedded in the teaching and research work of the Department for Environmental Policy Analysis (EPA), part of VU Amsterdam’s world-renowned Institute for Environmental Studies. In 2014 EPA was rated the best Dutch research group in environmental economics, sociology and policy. LEARNING OBJECTIVES At the end of this course, you will: Understand how global climate governance has changed over the past 40 years and where it might take us in the future. Be able to critically examine and assess current climate governance in terms of its emergence, effectiveness and efficiency, and be able to formulate reasoned opinions about contested concepts like fairness, legitimacy, equity and justice. Improve your communication and debating skills on climate change. Experience practical local and global solutions to climate-change issues in the Netherlands. ABOUT THE PROFESSOR Philipp Pattberg is professor of transnational environmental governance and policy at and head of the Department of Environmental Policy Analysis, Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), VU Amsterdam. He teaches Master’s courses in environmental governance at the Faculty of Sciences and the Faculty of Social Sciences. Pattberg specializes in the study of global environmental politics, with a focus on private transnational governance, multi-stakeholder partnerships, network theory and institutional analysis. His work has been published in leading scientific journals including Annual Review of Environment and Resources, European Journal of International Relations, Global Environmental Politics, Governance, and Science. Pattberg’s most recent book is the Encyclopedia of Global Environmental Governance and Politics (co-edited with Fariborz Zelli, Edward Elgar 2015). “Climate Change is the most pressing challenge of our time. Coming to Amsterdam will equip you with the necessary tools to contribute to a solution.” Oscar Widerberg is Assistant Professor at the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM). He has been studying and working with sustainability issues for the past 10 years, both in academia and in the private sector. Dr. Widerberg’s research focuses on how cities, companies and other non-state actors engage with climate change. He has a bachelor in international relations from Malmo University, a master in environmental science from Utrecht University and a PhD from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. EXCURSIONS The course includes three excursions: Greenpeace International (Non-Governmental Organization) De Ceuvel (city playground for innovation and creativity) Guided bike tour through Amsterdam (with focus on sustainability and local climate change issues) COURSE READING To be announced. STUDENT EXPERIENCE "Overall we went through a large amount of issues that are currently present in climate change governance and wrapping up our course we discussed many effects of current policy, ranging from community to regional, national, and global policy areas. I did learn that climate change is a complex issue that involved many different actors, state actors, national states, and in my opinion we know what we should do to correct for climate change's effects. We are not doing exactly what we can be doing and that is often overlooked by policy makers because private interests are involved and the humaitarian or the socially conscious ideas are neglected because nations still want to retain their power and influence on the global stage." -Wes Oler
This program was formerly known as Of Mountains and Men in a Changing World. This innovative program brings an interdisciplinary approach to the complex question of how climate change in mountainous regions affects both humans and nature. Combining methods and knowledge from the sciences, the humanities, and social sciences, this program welcomes students from all disciplines seeking novel, interdisciplinary approaches to complex questions. Graduate and advanced undergraduate students will develop an understanding of how mountains are built, learn about alpine environmental degradation, and explore how nature and humans adapt together to changing circumstances. Current research on glaciology, landslides and new economic models will be at the center of discussions to provide a transdisciplinary perspective of the challenges faced by nature and humans. The program will introduce students to: Historical transformation from pastoral activity to tourism Local economic development Protection and development of special mountain resources Urbanism and Arts Special adaptation of alpine fauna and fora Dynamic processes Alpine geology and Tectonics Landslides
Across the Globe, people rise up and protest against social inequities and environmental threats. They protest when confronted with environmental ‘bads’ such as polluted or degraded local environments. They protest when barred from accessing environmental ‘goods’ such as clean water, land for agriculture or grazing, or urban green spaces for recreation. They protest against environmental injustices associated with infrastructure development, industrial complexes, agribusinesses, and large corporations, which are seen to derive profit from activities that threaten the environments that underpin the livelihoods of current and future generations. These social movements can be grassroots groups and/or groups organized as non-governmental organizations, and often organize under the banner of ‘environmental justice’. Alongside the growth of environmental justice movements, the academic field of environmental justice has also rapidly expanded. It is a highly interdisciplinary field that draws on theories and concepts from across the natural and social sciences and humanities, such as environmental science, moral and political philosophy, science studies, development studies, and critical human geography. Environmental justice academics seek to analyze: (i) the nature of the distribution of environmental benefits and burdens; (ii) how environmental phenomena are experienced in different ways by different social groups; (iii) how justice claims are enacted/mobilized in struggles over resources, in particular the strategies of the social movements that call for justice. This course offers students of environmental science, food science, natural resources governance, geography, global development or similar fields the opportunity to learn how to understand, analyze, and engage in environmental justice conflicts and debates. Through an intensive three-week course, students will practice unraveling claims of environmental (in-)justice from a social science perspective that also incorporates elements of environmental history and environmental science. Students will also engage with theories on how social movements strategize and communicate their claims, and will get a chance to formulate their own strategy and methods for communicating such claims. Finally, students will be exposed to the realities of environmental justice advocacy groups that struggle to affect current environmental injustices. By the end of the course, students have acquired the skills to formulate critical questions and clear methodologies around environmental justice that will enable them to engage in diverse environmental justice conflicts and debates across diverse topics, scales, and contexts.
There are 7 billion people to feed today, and this number is expected to increase to 9 billion by 2050. This implies that more food is needed; more food means that more water is required for crop and livestock production. But how secure are our supplies of food and water? More specifically, what are the differences among regions in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia? What is the impact of climate change and what are the implications of current migration and urbanization trends for food, nutrition and water security? Agriculture is the biggest user of water on the globe, requiring large quantities of water for irrigation and production processes. How can food production be made more efficient, without compromising our water resources and the environment in general? Who are the key stakeholders in this domain and what is the role of the market in food production technologies and innovation? WHO SHOULD JOIN? Students and professionals with an interest in food and water security issues. If you have doubts about your eligibility for the course, please let us know. Our courses are multi-disciplinary and therefore are open to students and professional with a wide variety of backgrounds. COURSE CONTENT In this course you examine a range of approaches towards food and water security, from international policy agreements to community-based activities. Theory is combined with practice in the lectures, the discussions and the excursions, with all providing concrete examples of how issues of food and water security are being analysed and addressed in various regions, at various levels and by various actors from science and society. Food and water security is a major theme at VU Amsterdam, where it is embedded in the teaching and research work of the Centre for International Cooperation (CIS-VU) and the Amsterdam Centre for World Food Studies, a joint initiative of the School of Business and Economics (SBE) and the Athena Institute of the Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences (FALW). LEARNING OBJECTIVES At the end of this course you will: Better understand food and water security, its context (local to global), major challenges, innovative solutions and policies. Understand and can explain major concepts and theories in this field. Be able to select and apply appropriate transdisciplinary approaches in food and water security research, including the use of data-collection, analysis and presentation tools. Have acquired the computational skills needed to process relevant data, evaluate outputs and synthesize the overall outcome. Possess the communication skills needed to participate in current debates in the field of food and water security. EXCURSION Visits to urban agriculture projects in Amsterdam and in the rural area near the city. ABOUT THE PROFESSOR Denyse Snelder (PhD in the field of Sustainable Land and Water Management) holds a position at the Centre for International Cooperation (CIS), Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam. During lectures and workshops, she shares much of her field experience acquired over the years, managing multiple projects such as the WHaTeR project (EC) on Water Harvesting Technologies in Sub-Saharan, the STRONGBOW (Nuffic) on Natural Resource Management, Tourism, and Ecotourism, the ASALI programme on Research for A Sustainable Approach to Livelihood Improvement in Kenya, the SPADE project (Nuffic) on Spatial Planning for Agri-business and Public Policy Development in Kenya and the 3C project (Nuffic) on Natural Resource Management and Conflict Resolution for Stability and Inclusive Growth in the Greater Virunga Landscape (Rwanda, Uganda, DR Congo). “Finding ways in which we can achieve food and water security for billions of people in a world of growing scarcity is one, if not, the key challenge in the coming decades”