Sustainable Study Abroad Grants 2012-13
Middlebury School in China
"Going Green? The People’s Liberation Army’s Quest for Sustainability"
Passed by China’s National People’s Congress in March 2011, the 12th Five-Year Plan (FYP) (2011-2015) sets forth a plan for restructuring the economy that emphasizes laying the foundations for “long-term, steady and relatively rapid economic development” over promoting breakneck economic growth. Among the objectives emphasized in the latest iteration of the FYP are promoting domestic consumption, moving up the value chain to focus on higher value-added manufacturing, protecting the environment, and conserving energy. Although the onus of improving energy efficiency lies to a large extent with China’s industrial sector, a reality reflected in the large amount of analysis devoted to the implications of the new FYP on the civilian economy, relatively little scholarship has focused on the potential effect of the 12th FYP on China’s armed forces. Through a Middlebury Sustainable Study Abroad Grant, I hope to assess the current state of the PLA’s efforts to reduce its energy use by interviewing scholars at international relations think tanks and universities in Beijing and Shanghai. Through interviews and individual research using Chinese and English language articles, I hope to write a research paper answering questions such as: What has the PLA done in practice so far to implement the new energy efficiency guidelines? What are the implications for PLA capabilities? To what extent are PLA modernization efforts driven by energy efficiency goals? Understanding the role of energy efficiency in the PLA’s current and future operations will provide invaluable insight into the future trajectory of the PLA and whether it will be constrained – or empowered – by the new guidelines. Additionally, this project will begin to shed light on the Chinese leadership’s attitude toward sustainability and the degree to which it is prioritized above other national concerns.
Middlebury School in Latin America, Chile
"Manos Verdes: Environmental Education and Sustainability"
This project seeks to build upon the progress that has been made by Manos Verdes, an environmental education initiative for at-risk youth in Chile by investigating and working towards fulfilling the environmental and experiential education needs of Valparaíso public school students, many of whom do not have many opportunities to experience learning outside of their classrooms nor explore the environments that exist around their city. The culmination of this project will be educational excursions for elementary school classes of at-risk and underfunded Valparaíso public schools; students will explore local ecosystems, using all of their senses to learn about the natural world around them and how they can work to preserve it. By using nature as a platform from which to base educational experiences, I hope to create a space for young students to meaningfully connect with their environment, developing a love of nature and a desire to preserve our planet.