Course: Water, forests and people
The VE project aimed to provide a proper understanding of the relationships among forests and water, and the resulting benefits for people while sustaining watershed ecosystems. Issues such as population growth and land use, coupled with a changing climate, turn forest and water management into a great challenge. A challenge that requires new approaches, models, and good management practices, but above all, the comprehension and active involvement of all stakeholders.
This VE planned to provide students – who are not experts on these themes – with the knowledge and skills to actively engage in an intercultural dialogue and an international experience centered on WICKED problems and the SDGs in particular regarding forests and water; enhancing critical thinking abilities within an international and interdisciplinary debate. It comes to complement their academic curriculum by addressing a topic of current interest and global significance, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.
Over the five week duration of the course, students participated in synchronous classes and asynchronous activities, using a wide variety of technological platforms. The final activity allowed participants to create an awareness campaign showcasing the instrumental knowledge on sustainability they gathered during the exchange.
Key words: Water, forest, awareness raising, policy
Specific learning goals
- Define what a WICKED problem is and critically evaluate the concepts of sustainability and development.
- Talk in English about Italy and Honduras, the relations between the two countries and the presence and management of water and forests in the two contexts.
- Use appropriate terminology for the discussion of Wicked Problems, SDGs, sustainable development, particularly in relation to water and forests..
- Transmit the importance of water and forests to political and civil society actors in local and global contexts (through the development of an advocacy campaign).
- Communicate and collaborate using online tools in an international and transdisciplinary team, demonstrating intercultural curiosity and awareness.
In total 5 week course:
Week 1: Getting to know each other
- Word associations
- Filling and discussing a padlet (If I were a tree..) (online session among peers)
- Required Video: The Sustainable Development Goals need Forests
- Explore Infographic: SDGs and Forest and Water Relations
Week 2: Water & Forests in my home country
- Required Video: Forests and Water
- Describing the Forest and Water Management situation in your home country (online session among peers)
Week 3: Water and Forest Dynamics
- Discussion Forum: How is the Water and Forest Management situation in both countries alike?
- Discussion Forum: How is the Water and Forest Management situation in both countries different?
- Discussion Forum: Once you have learned about the experience of your partner, what good practices/strategies/approaches do you think could be adopted by your home country?
- Required Video: How Forests Facilitate the Water Cycle
- Required Reading and Quiz: The Forest Water Cycle
- Required Reading and Quiz: Introducing Forest Water Relationships
- Required Video: Forests provide drinking water for the world
- Required Reading and Quiz: The importance of Forest Water Relationships
- Create an awareness raising campaign/infographic/presentation (online session among peers)
Week 4. SDGs and the Climate Agreements
- Measure your carbon footprint
- Explore Infographic: Forests. Key to a Successful Paris Agreement
- Required Video: Sustainable forest management – a way of combating climate change
- Required Reading and Quiz: A Global Picture of Forests and Water
Week 5. Awareness Raising campaign presentation
- Synchronized final session