A pilot Colorado-Brazil Program on Sustainable Development Education
This project responds to a direct request from the Acre Government and the Federal University of Acre (UFAC), Brazil to join with the University of Colorado Boulder (UCB) to establish a robust education and exchange program focused on interdisciplinary forest-based natural resource management. The project will unite professors and students from across UCB and UFAC, and high-level decision-makers and civil servants in the Acre Government.
Acre is the birthplace of Amazonian environmentalism, led by rubber-tapper Chico Mendes. Acre has become famous for a new model of development, based on policies, programs, and market opportunities designed to conserve tropical forests and promote statewide low emissions economic growth. This diversified, forest-based economy includes agroforestry, aquaculture, and extensive extractive reserves and indigenous territories. Acre’s development pathway contrasts with other Amazonian states where deforestation, environmental degradation, and social injustice have prevailed.
For Acre to succeed in its ambitious plan to prove the viability of an alternative development pathway, it needs to train a cohort of skilled, motivated, and experienced young professionals who can work at the science-policy interface. Collaborators at UFAC and the Acre Government have identified a need to train graduate students and civil servants for these roles.
This project will address this need by developing an interdisciplinary, field-based, education and exchange program to tackle challenges such as tropical deforestation, climate change, and sustainable development. This project will 1) develop and teach a course on integrated sustainable development, and 2) develop a broader program of education and exchange between UCB and Acre.
Goal: To develop a comprehensive program of education and exchange, using tropical forests as classrooms and laboratories in which to develop interdisciplinary education on sustainable development.
Objective: Develop and offer a new course that equips graduate students and civil servants to tackles contemporary sustainable development challenges.
The project will train civil servants and UCB and Brazilian students to improve their knowledge and skills in three domains: 1) Systems-thinking approaches, which incorporate environmental, economic, and social dimensions of sustainability; 2) Interdisciplinary approaches, which combine multiple methods and frameworks; and 3) Applied research, which better-connects universities with decision-makers. All three domains are largely absent from UFAC graduate programs, which are organized in more traditional disciplinary academic silos. The course will focus on the Chico Mende Extractive Reserve as a ‘living classroom and laboratory’. The reserve is a showcase field site, with two decades of successful community based natural resource management.
This is a private program by request only, or for a specific audience or group.