Friday, January 21, 2011
The U.N. University for Peace offers a Master's program in Environmental Security which fascinates me. I've found no U.S. master's program that comes close to considering the same subject material. Visions of spending a year in Costa Rica, talking with students from all over the world about the problems that face all of us, keep me from focusing on the things I have at hand to do right now. Just the course titles enchant me: NRD-6075 - Forestry, Forests and Poverty; NRD-6050 - Agriculture, Natural Resources and Sustainable Development; and GPB-6060 Gender and Human Rights.
The premise of the whole program is that mismanaged environmental resources are often the root causes of conflict. Take Darfur, for a modern example -- Sudanese factions have never particularly liked each other, but they weren't killing each other before there was drought and famine. Of course, it's never really quite that simple, but it's hard to deny that scarcities of basic necessities like drinking water exacerbate tensions.
Who else is thinking up solutions for these big-picture conflicts?