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It’s good to be learning

I’ve been spending a lot of time reading all about water issues down here in Australia. Although I’m learning so much as I read, I’m also realizing that I learned an awful lot in my classes at VLS last semester. It’s actually a great feeling, because when you’re spending all of those hours reading for classes, sometimes you don’t really notice how much you are learning. It’s great when you’re suddenly in a new situation, and you find that so many of the topics you discussed in class are topics that are relevant in the real world.

I suppose that’s how it should be, otherwise it would be a little silly to spend the time and money getting a master’s. But, it’s reassuring to know that we are getting a good education, and will be well-prepared for the jobs we choose to pursue in the future (so long as you’re not hoping to join the circus or discover a new element.)

In case you’re interested in a little more detail, I’ve found the themes covered in Natural Resources Law are particularly relevant to the policy discussions surrounding natural resources management. For example, should resources be managed as separate resources (i.e. forests, water, fisheries), or should they be managed in geographic regions (i.e. watersheds)? How much input should local communities have? Perhaps they know the area best, but are they able to consider larger societal interests? What do you do when a resource is over-stressed, but that resource supports many livelihoods, industries, and communities?

In addition to learning the nitty-gritty here about water policy, it’s nice for me to occasionally step back and reflect on some of these larger, perhaps more theoretical questions, and to see in practice why some of these questions are so hard to answer. One thing is for certain – the thorny nature of these issues should mean job security for those of us wanting to work in this field!

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