By Michael Walton
June 17th, 2014
Northwestern Michigan College officials will expand NMC’s water studies programming through a course launching this fall with the help of a local water policy and education group.
NMC and For Love of Water — or FLOW — joined to create the course “Water Policy and Sustainability.”
Jim Olson, founder of FLOW and a partner in the Traverse City-based law firm Olson, Bzdok and Howard, said the course offers something unique.
“That is, the course will look at water policy historically, in present times, and then build upon the history and present water laws and policy to ask the question: Are we ready for what’s coming in the 21st Century?” he said.
Olson, an expert in environmental and water law and policy, co-designed and will co-teach the course.
Olson will focus on three areas: the connections between water and things like food, energy and transportation; the hydrological cycle; and the balance between an individual’s right to access water and the necessity to protect the resource for future generations.
“To solve the problems in this century, we have to understand water is not only individual to each of us, but it is common to all of us and that imposes limits in terms of what we must do to preserve it from one generation to the next,” he said.
Constanza Hazelwood, education coordinator for NMC’s Great Lakes Water Studies Institute, said water is an increasingly important resource both regionally and globally.
“We hear more and more that water is scarce, water is an issue in boundary conflicts, and the students want to learn more about, how they can look at our freshwater assets in light of those developments around the world,” Hazelwood said.
The new course is part of an effort to expand the Water Studies Institute’s global policy curriculum, Hazelwood said. It also dovetails with NMC’s wider efforts to develop relationships with education institutions in China, including the Kaifeng-based Yellow River Conservancy Institute.
Individuals interested in enrolling can visit nmc.edu/water.