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MOOC: Water, Civilization, and Nature: Addressing Water Challenges of the 21st Century

Think about the last time you were really thirsty. Then imagine having no canned or bottled beverages at hand, and when you turn on the tap, nothing comes out. It’s a two-mile walk to the nearest water hole, and the weather is hot and dry. When you get there, you have to wait your turn in the crowd, and maybe even jostle your way to the water. When you finally get your water, it’s muddy and might be polluted. After drinking some, you heft your full bucket for the return walk. Trudging along, you recall Ben Franklin’s words: “When the well runs dry, you know the worth of water”. This online course, offered by Colorado State University's Online Plus Program, seeks to provide for the interested citizen an overview of the interactions among water, people, and nature at a point in history when water scarcity, water conflicts, and water disasters are extracting an ever higher toll. The uses and needs for water, by both people and nature, will be discussed, along with conflicts among those uses. Problems such as water scarcity, water disasters, and pollution will be presented, and examples of innovative approaches to addressing these problems will be offered.

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