Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Natural Resources Development and Communities Where it Takes Place: A Story from the Peruvian Amazon

There is a direct relationship between natural resources extraction efforts and the communities in which the extraction takes place. As a world economy hungry for resources expands, there will no doubt be hundreds and even thousands of individual stories about the relationship between extraction efforts and the people who live in close proximity to these efforts.

National Public Radio's Morning Edition recently considered the case of the Peruvian Amazon, a region rich in oil and gas. But the region is also home to communities who worry about the impacts of such extraction efforts. In "Toll of Oil Drilling Felt in Peru's Amazon Basin," (Morning Edition, June 22, 2010), the relationship is put in more context.

To be sure, there are complicated and interdependent issues related to the "when, where, and how" questions of natural resources extraction. In response, the Sturm College of Law has introduced a first-of-its-kind set of courses, "Sustainable Development of Natural Resources Series," led by internationally-recognized experts Luke Danielson and Cecilia Dalupan. The aim of the series is to consider these issues carefully and in a broader context.

The next course in the series, "Sustainable Natural Resources Development: Community Expectations" will take place in Denver Aug. 9-13. The three credit course is intense -- class sessions run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day of the week and students can expect assignments both before and after the conclusion of the class sessions. However, students who took the course in August 2009 (the first time it was offered) were nearly unanimous in their praise for course content and coverage.

Consequently, if this is a subject that is of interest to you, consider registering for the course. The issue of natural resources extraction and how it can be undertaken in a sustainable manner is one of the key issues today's world faces. For more information, contact Don Smith at

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