Students in this independent study will study the human and socioeconomic implications of Amazon development, which remain poorly understood. Mega-scale hydroelectric dams are poised to effectively sever most fluvial connections between the Andes and lowland Amazonia. Rates of forest conversion to pasture, field, and city, are at an all-time high. Access to previously remote areas via new highways, developed waterways, and increased air travel, has been greatly simplified. Energy (fossil fuel and biofuel as well as hydropower) and mineral (especially gold, iron, and aluminum) resource extraction is accelerating. In the process there have been many significant but under-appreciated trade-offs, for example, traditional lifeways vs. employment in emergent fields, import of labor and investment vs. export of resources and capital, degradation of natural biomes vs. increase of modern services.
Contact Prof. Paul Baker to learn how to sign up.