- Advertisement -Newspaper WordPress Theme
Ice MeltingLatest Program for High School Students Will Explore Climate Complexity in Chile...

Latest Program for High School Students Will Explore Climate Complexity in Chile and Argentina

Latest Program for High School Students Will Explore Climate Complexity in Chile and Argentina

Laurel Zaima-Sheehy and Christina Deodatis
|April 12, 2023

flat rocky area with mountains in the distance

Piedras Rojas within the Atacama Desert, Chile. Source: Westcottm, Wikimedia Commons

The unique landscape of Chile and Argentina holds a key resource obligatory for combatting climate change, while concurrently experiencing devastating climate impacts. The region is a critical supplier of considered one of the world’s most precious materials. Argentina, Bolivia and Chile are referred to as the “lithium triangle,” holding greater than half of the world’s reserves of lithium — key to creating batteries, which serve a very important role within the energy transition and climate solutions.

The lucrative lithium mining industry presents an economic boom for these countries. Nevertheless, there are environmental and ethical concerns concerning the extraction practices. Lithium mines extract large amounts of groundwater, which makes the Chile’s lithium mines within the Atacama Desert hotter and drier. A 2022 study found that lithium mining resulted in an 11% population reduction within the local flamingos over the past decade. Environmental degradation from lithium mining negatively impacts surrounding Indigenous communities, driving social justice concerns. The environmental impacts of mineral extraction exacerbate the already felt climate pressures of this region. The climate change in Chile and Argentina are melting glaciers and driving water insecurity and conflicts over water rights. The complexity of this region because it navigates climate change makes this region a very necessary area to check.

A latest program will help high-school students can deeply understand the climate challenges and solutions of this area through place-based, field learning experiences. This summer 2023, we’re excited to supply the Columbia Climate Corps Chile & Argentina Program for the primary time!

The Columbia Climate Corps summer programs are small group climate and sustainability-focused traveling programs designed for motivated highschool students. This system combines intentional travel and in-depth educational opportunities to experience a destination through the lens of climate change and focus intently on location-specific themes.

The Climate Corps Chile and Argentina program focuses on the themes of climate impacts and risk. This three-week journey will begin in Santiago, Chile where students will hear from Nicolas Maennling, an authority of sustainable management of mineral resources and responsible mining practices within the Andean region, followed by a visit to a mining town to learn concerning the industry. They may travel to Valparaíso, Chile to find out about climate disaster risk reduction strategies from the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the Navy.

Students will then journey north into the landscape of colourful lagoons, salt flats, and volcanoes within the Atacama Desert to learn concerning the history of mining within the region. Students will discuss problems with human rights and gender equality within the mining sector while learning concerning the impacts of desertification and water management challenges for local communities.

Students will then enter the Argentinian Andes and meet with small communities to learn the way climate change is impacting their regions. Here, students will hike through the extraordinary geological formations and explore biodiversity in Calilegua National Park to find out about conservation of untamed lands and ecological zones.

antonia samur headshot

Antonia Samur is a staff associate on the National Center for Disaster Preparedness on the Columbia Climate School. Antonia has experience working on the interface of climate impacts and human development. She is going to join the inaugural Columbia Climate Corps Chile and Argentina Program summer 2023.

The trip ends in Salta, Argentina, where students will finally end up their final projects and share with their peers while recounting on the experience they’ve all just shared together.

Joining the Chile and Argentina trip this summer is Antonia Samur of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness. Antonia has a background in climate impacts and human development. Within the Q&A below, Antonia discusses her excitement for the upcoming Columbia Climate Corps Summer Pre-College Program.

What is going to you teach at Columbia Climate Corps Chile & Argentina Program? Why do you like to show these topics to young people?  

I shall be teaching concerning the challenges of climate change and other disaster hazards in Chile. I’ll deal with the social and political dimensions of climate change, disaster impacts, and coping/adaptation capacities, in addition to disaster management systems in Chile and the way disaster management policy has evolved in the previous couple of a long time in response to disaster events.

What’s the importance of engaging highschool students with climate change challenges and solutions?

We’d like the younger generations to take an interest in progressive solutions to mitigate and adapt to climate change, in addition to to grasp its complexities as climate change interacts with all other global challenges. These challenges are multidisciplinary and would require future generations of school graduates to take into consideration their lives and careers in rather more holistic ways than previous generations. We’d like creative and versatile minds that might be optimistic enough to assume a sustainable future after which construct it. We’d like young professionals to assist us think outside the box.

Essentially the most obvious fields students might take into consideration when considering the problems of climate change are technology, engineering, advancing the physical sciences and research, etc. But equally necessary, if no more, is the socio-political transformations that humanity needs for equity and sustainable development. So, to me, opportunities like this trip are necessary because they may show in a really practical way a few of these complexities to highschool students, and hopefully will encourage an optimistic view of the facility of collective motion.

people walking up a rocky path

Climbing within the Atacama Desert, Chile. Photo: Florian Delée, Unsplash

What do you hope students will gain from this program?

I believe the experience of traveling to a unique country itself shall be enriching. From my very own experience, traveling internationally once I was in highschool opened my mind in so some ways, and it catalyzed lots of personal growth. So, I hope the scholars fully soak up the experience of being in a unique environment and culture. I hope they challenge themselves to step away from their comfort zones and embrace making latest friends and broadening their viewpoints and understanding of the world. Then, I hope they’re encouraged to go home and find ways through which they will contribute to creating the world a bit of higher in whatever ways also fulfill them. I hope this trip will help them construct a way of purpose.

What do you hope to realize from this program?

I hope to take this as a chance to learn from the scholars, their concerns, and their points of view about these issues. I haven’t taught much, so it’s going to even be a learning opportunity for me to work out effective methods of teaching these issues in a really practical, applied, and down-to-earth way.

What are you most enthusiastic about this summer?

Being out and about with the scholars, away from my desk for a bit. I really like doing fieldwork, and dealing with people, it’s something different from what I do each day. I’m looking forward to the change of pace, and most significantly, I look ahead to chatting with the scholars, hearing their concerns, and learning from them.

What do you think that shall be probably the most influential component of this system?

I believe it’s going to be the mix of being in a rustic with lots of challenges related to climate change and disasters, while also being encouraged to take into consideration how they might be proactive and purposeful in interested by solutions and their very own role on the earth. I hope it will probably be a really inspirational experience.

Learn more

The Columbia Climate Corps Chile and Argentina program will run from July 22 – August 11, 2023. Begin your application and review application requirements.

In search of more climate-themed travel programs? We’re also holding the Columbia Climate Corps summer program in two more locations:

  • Alaska: Climate Communication and Exploration, July 17 – July 28, 2023
  • IcelandCarbon Capture Technology, July 20 – August 1, 2023

In search of a campus-based summer program? The Columbia Climate School within the Green Mountains will run from July 2 – July 14, 2023 this summer in Castleton, Vermont.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here




We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.




Get unlimited access to our EXCLUSIVE Content and our archive of subscriber stories.


- Advertisement -Newspaper WordPress Theme

Latest articles

More articles

- Advertisement -Newspaper WordPress Theme