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GEA4465 GEA6466: Seminar on Amazonia

Dr. Robert Walker –

What is Bolsonaro up to?
How is climate change impacting the Amazon?
Is the region on the verge of a Tipping Point catastrophe?
Will the fires continue to intensify?
Can indigenous resistance save the forest?
How do we find a pathway to sustainable development?

For the past several decades, world attention has often focused on Amazonia as a region under assault by the forces of development. But even with the vast transformation that has occurred here, the region still shelters an expansive ecosystem of critical importance to global biodiversity and biogeochemical cycles. Thus, Amazonia remains an important arena in which development and conservation have yet to find a balanced equilibrium. This course is designed to equip students with the knowledge they need to understand the issues at stake. It takes a multi-dimensional, socio-ecological view of the region, touching on its cultural heritage, its colonial history, its ecological function, and its ongoing agricultural and industrial change. We address Amazonia from a variety of angles, formulating our understandings and drawing our conclusions on the basis of an inter-disciplinary reckoning. To this end, we will be reading in both the social and biophysical sciences, and exposing ourselves to a transdisciplinary mix of vocabularies and paradigms. And yes, we will address each of the above questions and answer them as best we can.