This course examines how humans are challenging the planet in ways that place some of the most vulnerable people at risk. We will frame our investigations into Planetary Health by using using the River Continuum Concept–tracking water from headwater reaches to great lakes– and exploring the risks to ecosystem functions and services they provide to human communities caused by human activities along the river continuum. This three-week field school will start from Kampala, Uganda’s capital and largest city, after which we will travel to the city of Fort Portal and the districts of Kabarole and Kamwenge where Kibale National Park lies – a forest that is home to the world’s largest biomass of primates per square kilometer, including endangered chimpanzees, the red colobus monkey, and the rare L’Hoest’s monkey. We will be visiting a diversity of environments within the rainforest, from small streams and wetlands. At the base of the field school – in Kibale National Park – we will learn about human-nature interactions and complete community-engagement projects, where we will collaborate with community groups to assess challenges and opportunities and ultimately launch sustainable projects designed to support the community’s long-term wellbeing. We will then track water from headwater reaches in Kibale to the Mpanga River that flows into the Katonga River then into Lake George, one of the African Great Lakes, exploring human-nature interactions and implications for human health and well-being. The field school will end in the city of Jinja, at the shore of Lake Victoria, where we will tour the source of the Nile River –that drains through South Sudan, Sudan, Egypt and ultimately to the Mediterranean Sea– to explore the dependency of people on water.
Proudly funded by the Natural Science and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC).