Photo by Erica Bower

In BwogSalon, we feature smashing articles from our many niche campus publications. Today, we look at the most recent issue of Consilience, a Columbia-based online journal of sustainable development.

Name of Publication: Consilience: The Journal of Sustainable Development

Edition: Issue 7, Winter 2011/2012

Description: Consilience is a global, online publication, based at Columbia University, dedicated to promoting interdisciplinary dialogue on sustainable development. It brings students, researchers, professors, and practitioners from a variety of disciplines and geographical regions in direct conversation with each other. It has published research from over 20 countries, on all 6 inhabited continents.

Selected Article: Erica Bower, a sophomore in Columbia College, in her photo essay “Striving Towards a Sustainable Solution: Water and Community in Veron, Dominican Republic”, grapples with the difficulties of providing access to clean drinking water to migrant communities servicing the tourist industry, in the Dominican Republic.

The development of the tourism industry in the Dominican Republic has made the dichotomy between wealthy and poor increasingly stark (Weiner, 2010). Nowhere is this disparity more evident than in Domingo Maiz, Veron, a neighborhood community just 9 miles inland from the Punta Cana resort area. Over the past 25 years, Veron has become a settlement for migrant labor, both Dominican and Haitian, who work at hotels during tourist seasons. This seasonal variation in population density, compounded with the lack of official governmental structure, makes obtaining census data extremely difficult. In addition, the population of this informal community is in constant flux and lacks uniform awareness about proper water cleanliness and sanitation concerns (Reiff, 1996). This mindset therefore exacerbates improper waste disposal, unofficial well construction, and bacteria-infestation in water resources in Veron. In fact, data from recent studies demonstrates that an overwhelming number of wells, specifically in the barrio Domingo Maiz, are contaminated at levels that drastically impact on public health in the community (Novack, 2011).