Although the current COVID-19 crisis is a major health issue across the globe, a key issue that has been affecting humankind for decades is climate change and the mismanagement of natural resources.
Whilst contributing the most to this threat on our environment, people are also the solution to the problem through the application of appropriate knowledge and skills in sustainable resource management.
One such programme that addresses the multidisciplinary issue of climate change is the Fiji National University’s (FNU), Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Science and Management course.
Offered at the University’s College of Engineering, Science and Technology (CEST), the one-year full-time course is flexible and can also be tailored to a person’s study schedule.
CEST Head of School of Applied Sciences and Assistant Professor in Environmental Science, Dr Ulukalesi Tamata said the programme addresses the current vulnerability faced in Fiji and the region.
“Climate change is the hot topic right now, apart from COVID-19 of course,” Dr Tamata said.
“To understand the how and why about ‘climate change’, one needs to understand the natural environment, including the connectivity among the atmospheric components and motions, the ocean currents and the human factor in
altering the landscape and seascapes over time.”
“Climate change is a particularly critical subject for the vulnerable small island countries such as Fiji, because of the threats to lives and livelihoods from sea level rise, saltwater intrusion, storm surges, uncertain freshwater availability and accessibility.”
“Through this course, students will be knowledgeable and qualified in the areas of environment, resource management and enhancing sustainable community livelihoods.”
Dr Tamata added that the programme was also aligned to majority of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), particularly those dealing with the environment and resource management. She also emphasised that eight out of the 17 Goals directly or indirectly related to the environment.
She said the three compulsory units and one elective course that students undertake will allow them to be specialists in the fields of forestry, fisheries, agriculture and mineral resources.
“Students will study research methodologies whereby they will select issues of concern and apply their theoretical knowledge to develop research proposals to address these concerns,” Dr Tamata said.
“Through the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation unit, the students also learn of the impacts first-hand as they visit communities and sites and have discussions with the residents on appropriate adaptation measures that could be applied.”
“A fundamental unit covered by the programme is the ridge to reef concept and the fundamentals of remote sensing and geospatial techniques.”
Dr Tamata added that the programme successfully contributes to the capacity building of local leaders in the areas of environmental and resource management.
Interested students can enrol now for Semester 2 studies by visiting the FNU website on www.fnu.ac.fj to learn more. Prospective students can also text on 857 or email on email@example.com if they face difficulties completing the process online or need further information on enrolment.