Geographic Perspectives on Sustainability and Human-Environment Systems

Final Project Part I: Questions


Select one of the following three questions to conduct research and write a final paper on this semester.

  1. Costa Rica is a well known destination for ecotourists. The country's government actively promoted ecotourism beginning in the 1970s as a form of sustainable development that allows preservation of land in national parks and attracts large numbers of visitors who bring foreign cash into Costa Rica's economy. Yet, the large numbers of ecotourists in Costa Rica also bring threats of environmental deterioration, such as overcrowding, increasing pollution and pressure on energy supplies, trail proliferation, soil erosion, and vegetation loss. Drawing on at least two concepts from the course, critically evaluate the positives and negatives of ecotourism in Costa Rica. Consider both environmental and economic factors in your response, and tradeoffs between the two. Should the Costa Rican government continue to support ecotourism as a model of sustainable development, and if so, how can environmental and economic threats be mitigated?
  2. In late 2016, the introduction of a genetically modified mustard crop to India was delayed by an environmental lawsuit. Genetically modified seeds are highly controversial in India, where opponents fear they negatively impact small farmers' livelihoods, increase pesticide use, and detrimentally impact the environment. Drawing on at least two concepts from the course, critically evaluate the arguments for and against the use of genetically modified crops in India. Should genetically modified food crops be permitted in India, and if so, what could be done to mitigate the potential negative impacts?
  3. In February 2017, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order to undo the Office of Surface Mining's Stream Protection Rule. Drawing on at least two concepts from the course, critically evaluate the tradeoffs of this Executive Order on communities impacted by the Rule. What steps could communities take to counter potential negative impacts? 

Please upload a Word Document identifying your selected question to the "Final Project Part I" dropbox under Module 6 on Canvas. When naming the file, include your last name first. For example, Hong_questionselection.docx (please no pdfs, rtfs, etc.).