The Amazon Forest and Atlantic Forest, Brazil

Students sitting in a circle surround by palm trees at dusk.

Solving complex socio-environmental sustainability challenges requires an interdisciplinary and systems-thinking approach that accounts for the perspectives of multiple stakeholders. Such challenges, and the opportunities to address them, are exemplified in Brazil’s Amazon and Atlantic Forest biomes. These two tropical forests are of global significance: they sequester and store carbon, which mitigates climate change; they harbor more biodiversity than any other terrestrial ecosystem; and they support the livelihoods of millions of Indigenous and traditional forest-dependent people, many of whom live in poverty yet are also critical actors in forest conservation.

Many stakeholders are invested in the conservation and sustainable development in Brazil’s forests. These stakeholders wish to avoid the continuation of some of the historic trends of deforestation, fires, large-scale infrastructure, biodiversity loss, and poverty that have characterized these regions. Instead, they hold a vision of developing a sustainable forest-based bioeconomy that conserves forests while promoting well-being and prosperity among rural populations, grounded in the commercialization of non-timber forest products, agroforestry, ecotourism, and carbon markets.

How might this vision of a forest-based bioeconomy be achieved? Is it possible to navigate a pathway that achieves both conservation and sustainable development goals? What governance mechanisms (e.g., policies, programs) are needed to do so? What is the role of different stakeholders? What can be learned across different regions, namely the Amazon and Atlantic Forests, to share lessons learned on integrated conservation and development? What opportunities are there for domestic and international collaborative partnerships to contribute to this vision? This course will address these questions through a two-week immersive field experience in the Amazon and Atlantic Forests of Brazil.


Copenhagen, Denmark


Course Description: International Energy and Sustainability examines policies, technologies, and social movements around the world as they pertain to energy markets, businesses, initiatives, and long term sustainability goals. This Augmester course primarily focuses on conventional and renewable energy but will also examine, more broadly, the ways in which communities, businesses, and governments are working to move toward a more sustainable future. The course will be taught in an Augmester 3-week intensive setting with approximately 10 days in Boulder and 10 days in Denmark.  

For decades, Denmark has been a global leader in creating and implementing policies and technology for moving the world toward a more carbon neutral and sustainable energy future. Both at the national and municipal levels, Denmark has established far-reaching and effective policies related to sustainable energy development and implementation in businesses and universities, many of which are respected internationally as leaders in the renewable and sustainable energy space. Furthermore, the country has managed to make these advancements while always taking into account the cultural and social impacts of a changing energy sector, not an easy task when dealing with such pervasive and vital industries. For all these reasons, Denmark is the perfect location to explore international energy and sustainability and the lessons for implementing such work around the world.

Topics (including but not limited to):

  • The history of international energy and sustainability
  • Current and future trends in the international energy and sustainability space as they pertain to:
    • Fossil fuels
    • Renewable energy
    • Transportation
    • Sustainable development
  • Case studies on energy and sustainability around the world
  • Policies and strategies to reduce emissions
  • Policies and strategies to incentivize deployment of renewable energy
  • Social policies in international energy for sustainable and equitable outcomes