Edited By Walter Leal Filho
A Short-Term Experiential Study Abroad Course on Sustainability in Costa Rica: Art as a Sustainability Case Study1
Adrienne R. Schwarte, Mark J. O’Gorman Abstract Purpose: Using the guiding question “In what ways do humans see the planet?” for an experiential study abroad course to Costa Rica, art was a primary instructional tool to teach students about the Costa Rican culture and how historical pre- Columbian artifacts can reveal the ethic behind the nation’s modern sustainability roots. This paper identifies how a commitment to sustainability and an engaged environmental ethic stem in part from opportunities for students to witness first- hand accounts of their impact on the environment and to society at large, while interacting with other members of society who are sustainability trailblazers. Design/Methodology/Approach: A descriptive model of a short-term travel abroad course to Costa Rica focused on art, ecotourism and sustainability is identified and provides an outline for how courses can bridge and cross disciplines as the field of sustainability does and should do. Findings: Whether picking shade-grown coffee with local “Ticos” to understand fair-trade practices; visiting with graduate researchers studying old growth rain- forest biodiversity at the La Selva Biological Station; clearing beaches near Pacific leatherback turtle nesting sites for the World Wildlife Fund in Playa Junquillal; white water rafting near indigenous villages on the Rio Pacuare; or hiking into the world famous cloud forest at Monteverde, sustainability was more fully ap- preciated because of the artistic backdrop of the course. Originality/value: This paper identifies the unique perspective of centering a short-term travel abroad course to Costa Rica (a destination usually most out- wardly identified...
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