Welcome to the February 2023 edition of the EUC Research Update - bringing you highlights from research activities at York's Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change. We invite you to view our past updates on our Research News page.
Natalie Wood on performing a repertoire of resistance, disruption, and inspiration.
Joseph Mensah on research to support women’s health and economic empowerment in Ghana.
Accolades and Awards
Sheila Colla and MES alumna Kennedy Halvorson received new funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada to undertake knowledge mobilization and develop a priority area sampling framework for parasites and pathogens in native bees in Canada, with a focus on at-risk species. The project will create a platform for a nation-wide sampling protocol in priority areas and conservation hotspots to assess baseline wild bee parasite and pathogen levels.
Knowledge mobilization will focus on discussing the current and future threats to wildlife associated with the managed bee industry and to facilitate discussions about regulatory solutions and research collaboration.
Joseph Mensah is collaborating with Ghanian researchers Yaa Ntiamoa Baidu, from the Centre for Biodiversity Conservation Research (CBCR), University of Ghana, and Emmanuel Ankrah Odame, on an IDRC Women RISE project examining the socio-economic and health vulnerabilities of female bushmeat traders in the context of COVID-19 in Ghana. The project will provide inputs into the country’s COVID-19 recovery programme and provide training and material interventions, to improve bushmeat processing and selling sites in order to advance the wellbeing of women in the bushmeat trade.
Mensah is also collaborating with Philomena Okeke-Ihejerika (University of Alberta) on a SSHRC Partnership Grant titled I am because we are: Amplifying Sub-Saharan African immigrants’ resilience and ability to thrive. The team also includes Valerie Preston. The project aims to understand the dynamics and strategies of resilience deployed by immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa in Canada. During this Black History Month, the project recently organized a conference on Leveraging Our Synergies: Cultural Resilience in Diaspora, celebrating African diaspora in academia and the arts.
Eric Miller and Katie Kish, from EUC's Ecological Footprint Initiative, were awarded a grant by Shared Value Solutions to develop a Métis-focused Ecological Footprint Calculator for the Métis Nation of Ontario. The calculator helps Métis individuals and households to estimate their Ecological Footprint, and advises them on ways to conserve it, along with comparisons to other members of the community and the average Ontarian.
Miller also recently presented a lecture at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts about Ecological Footprint and wellbeing, with the title “GDP is gross, wellbeing is better.”
York's Ecological Footprint Initiative produces the world-renowned National Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts. These accounts measure the capacity of lands and water to provide humanity with food and renewable materials, space for settlements and infrastructure, and the sequestration of carbon emissions. The data can help tell stories at various geographic scales and over time.
EUC SSHRC postdoctoral fellow Cynthia Morinville received a SSHRC Explore Grant for her study on Québec’s Lithium Rush: Global mining and recycling markets for fossil-fuel alternatives. The research investigates the influences of global markets on the development of Quebec’s lithium industry. Lithium, like all minerals, is a globally traded commodity and its global geopolitics have a direct impact on the Québécois industry, and extractive activities in the province. In Quebec, Indigenous communities whose territories are home to lithium deposits are directly implicated in an energy transition that is often debated and decided in faraway urban centres. A turn to green technologies that in many ways proposes to “mine our way out of climate change” has tremendous impacts on these territories, and demands the question: Green for whom?
Patricia Perkins and Dayna Scott are part of the York University delegation that will participate in the UN Water Conference in New York in March.
The Conference is convened by the UN General Assembly and will bring stakeholders from diverse sectors together with the hope of creating global momentum to address the broad challenges surrounding water.
York's delegation of 10 researchers has obtaining special accreditation and will represent our efforts to: advance fundamental, applied, and humanitarian research on the water crisis; engaging with Indigenous communities to protect their water supply; and, train a diverse group of students in water sustainability.
Roger Keil wrote a tribute to legendary urbanist Mike Davis (1946-2022) titled Remembering a Giant of Generosity in Azure (2023).
In his tribute, he noted "Mike Davis was a leading thinker — and perhaps the leading thinker — of the transatlantic Left in the outgoing 20th and early 21st centuries.
I will personally remember him for the intellectual power he displayed in everything he did, the way he brought people of different backgrounds together and for his generosity towards everyone that crossed his path — a spirit that he retained until his death last October at the age of 76.
What is gone is gone. Someone like Mike is impossible to replace. A large loss for us all."
Publications and Reports
Adeyeye, D., Olusola, A., Orimoloye, I.R. et al. (2023). Carbon footprint assessment and mitigation scenarios: a benchmark model for GHG indicator in a Nigerian University. Environment, Development, and Sustainability, 25, 1361–1382.
Aggarwal, A. and Young, K.L. (2023). Surface-groundwater exchange between a wetland, sandur, and lava field in southeastern Iceland. Hydrology Research, 54 (1): 14–30.
Barndt, D., Baker, L., and Gelis, A. (2023). Earth to Tables Legacies: Multimedia Food Conversations across Generations and Cultures. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Birch, K. (2023). Reflexive expectations in innovation financing: An analysis of venture capital as a mode of valuation. Social Studies of Science, 53(1), 29–48.
Coppella, L., Flicker, S., and Goldstein, A. (2023). “Make sure I hear snoring”: Adolescent girls, trans, and non-binary youth using sound for sexual wellbeing boundary-making at home during COVID-19. Wellbeing, Space and Society. Volume 4, 100117.
Foster, J. (2022). Post-Industrial Urban Greenspace Ecology, Aesthetics and Justice. New York: Routledge.
Hughes, A.C., Tougeron, K., Martin, D.A.,, Menga, F., Rosado, B.H.P., Villasante, S., Madgulkar, S., Gonçalves, F., Geneletti,D., Maria Diele-Viegas, L., Berger, S., Colla, S.R., Kamimura, V., Holly Caggiano, Felipe Melo, Marcelo Guilherme de Oliveira Dias, Elke Kellner, Edivando Vitor do Couto. (2023). Smaller human populations are neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for biodiversity conservation, Biological Conservation, Volume 277, 109841.
Hyndman, J., Amarasingam, A. and Naganathan, G. (2022) Diaspora Geopolitics in Toronto: Tamil Nationalism and the Aftermath of War in Sri Lanka, Geopolitics, 27:2, 424-443.
Ilyniak, S. (2022). Make-work methodology: Canadian homelessness research and its role in austerity. Radical Housing Journal, December, Vol 4(2): 139-156.
Kaika, M., Keil, R., Mandler, T. and Tzaninis, Y. eds. (2023). Turning up the heat: Urban political ecology for a climate emergency. Manchester University Press.
McLafferty, S. and Preston, V. (2023). Geographies of Frontline Workers: Gender, Race, and Commuting in New York City. Sustainability 2023, 15, 3429.
Remmel, T., Ouellette, M., and Wu, W. (2023). A boreal wildfire and harvesting database with ensemble confidence attributes for Ontario (1972–2021+), International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, Volume 117, 103199.
Events and Media Coverage
February is Black History Month and EUC is sharing accomplishments, resources, profiles, and various events taking place at York throughout the month.
Participate in events organized by the Harriet Tubman Institute, YU Scholars’ Hub and York Universities Black Student Associations with support from the Centre for Student Community and Leadership Development.
Join us for a discussion of a new book by Raju Das titled Marx’s Capital, Capitalism and Limits to the State: Theoretical considerations (London/New York: Routledge, 2022) on March 1, 1pm-2.30pm, HNES 138 at York University.
The book examines the capitalist state in the abstract, and as it exists in advanced capitalism and peripheral capitalism, illustrating the ideas with evidence from the North and the South. The book will be of interest to scholars researching state-society/economy relations.
The third EUC seminar series on The Praxis of Agroecology will be held on March 2, 12:30 pm featuring Humberto Rios (Cuba) ICRA/Wageningen University; Milion Beley (Ethiopia) from the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa; and Anita Gautam (Nepal) from Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research & Development.
Organized by Martha Stiegman and co-sponsored by SeedChange, the event is part of EUC's Seminar Series on FOOD SOVEREIGNTY NOW!, showcasing the work of Indigenous, small farmer and peasant movements across Turtle Island and the Global South. Register at eventbrite.
Join Deborah Barndt and her collaborators (Lauren Baker and Alexandra Gelis) in the Earth to Tables Legacies project in the global online launch of their collective book Earth to Tables Legacies: Multimedia Food Conversations across Generations and Cultures on March 5, 11-1pm.
The book tells the stories of food activists from the Americas who share a vision for food justice and food sovereignty, from earth to tables. Meet the collaborators in Mexico, Quebec, rural and urban Ontario, in this interactive event! Spanish interpretation will be provided. Click here to register for the event and here to order the book.
Kean Birch authored an article titled "There Are No Markets Anymore - From Neoliberalism to Big Tech" for the Transnational Institute, discussing how Google is able to affect the process of buying and selling ad space. Birch explained that Google both buys and sells adspace by targeting the viewers online and then offering best exposure of the business an advertiser would want to achieve. However, Google also has the power to overcharge advertisers and underpay publishers through their control of the market-pricing technologies and architecture. This in turn "benefits their company as well as drives out potential competitors", Birch says.
In a Globe and Mail (2023) opinion, Birch also weighed in on the streaming giant Netflix's decision to "crackdown on password sharing noting that it might fail like Blockbuster. Accordingly, Netflix is desperately trying to find new ways to generate revenues because fears about the stagnating size of its user base have sent jitters through market investors. Indeed, concerns about revenue and profit growth have an especially dramatic impact when one's business model is driven by increasing the user base. As a result, however, Netflix is facing a self-defeating cycle with its subscription changes.
Sarah Flicker's Let's Get Sexfluent project with EUC postdoctoral fellow Shira Taylor and PhD alumna Sarah Switzer is now available at the Centre for Community Based Research (CCBR) website. The project is a CIHR-funded collaboration between community-based organizations across Canada, academic researchers, peer researchers, youth leaders, and people living with HIV to evaluate the youth sexual health and harm reduction resource “Sexfluent” for diverse youth communities. "Sexfluent" is the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research’s (CANFAR) new bilingual, evidence-based online national youth resource that addresses HIV and STBBI prevention through a comprehensive approach that examines gender identity and sexuality, modern dating and relationships, sexual pleasure, mental health, substance use, and harm reduction.
EUC PhD Candidate Maureen Owino, Sarah Flicker, and Katie MacEntee presented a brief update on their project Women and AIDS initiative: Bringing intersectionality theory to life - Storying experiences of navigating the triple pandemics through cellphilming that share what it has been like navigating the triple pandemics of HIV, COVID-19 and racial injustice and create narratives that explicitly looked at the intersections of race, embodiment, the social determinants of health and structural inequality. An earlier paper was presented at the McGill International Cellphilm Festival in a roundtable revisioning cellphilming in the age of COVID-19 and beyond.
Mahtot Gebresselassie co-authored a policy brief series on Uber and Lyft in U.S. Cities through the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). Specifically, their research on equity implications of Uber and Lyft studied the change in transportation network companies' (TNCs) ridership during heat waves in both low- and high-income neighborhoods in New York City in July 2019 (p.14). Findings revealed that trips per capita during heat waves were higher in high-income neighborhoods than in low-income neighborhoods. It is recommended that planners consider the possibility and viability of extending special service offerings in low-income neighborhoods and those with less transit access during heat waves to alleviate transit disparity exacerbated by extreme weather.
Brandon Hay (MES '16), is the founder of the Black Daddies Club (BDC). BDC was created in response to the isolation that Black fathers can feel due to the lack of forums and spaces for Black men to discuss parenting issues and concerns facing the Black community as a whole.
The main goals of the organization are to change the image of the “absent Black father” that is prevalent in the media and to assist young Black men to become better fathers. Hay was featured in TVO: The Agenda with Steve Paikin on February 7 as part of a panel that talked about “How do parents talk to their children about Anti-Black Racism?”
Calvin Lakhan from EUC's Waste Wiki project, was cited in a Toronto Star (2023) article on breaking down plastic bag alternatives noting that almost all the emphasis is placed on consumers and the residential sector, but in terms of all the waste generated, 90 per cent comes from the industrial sector, not from the residential sector. “When we talk about sustainability, it’s important to remember that there is an environmental, economic and social dimension,” says Lakhan.
EUC PhD candidate Charlotte Lombardo participated in York's Faculty of Graduate Studies' (FGS) Knowledge Now - Graduate Research @ York. Her dissertation research is about art as a form of knowledge production focusing on the principles and processes of community arts. She works with SKETCH Working Arts along with colleague Phyllis Novak, Founding Artistic Director, in engaging young artmakers from underrepresented communities as artist-researchers, to express place, community and culture through creative explorations and public art experiments. They recently worked with Sarah Flicker and Lisa Myers in a Making with Place research project partly funded by SSHRC.
Dayna Scott has been cited in a Financial Post (2023) article titled First Nations forge alliance as Ontario's rush for critical minerals sparks alarm. Sharing her opinion on the Ontario government's decision to provide companies with easier access to mining sites, she explained that the policy is worrying members of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI), Wapekeka, Neskantaga, and Asubpeeschoseewagong Anishinabek (Grassy Narrows) First Nations communities. As an adviser to the Neskantaga First Nation and director of the environmental justice and sustainability clinic at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, Scott notes that governments have been vague about their intentions: “It’s almost as if they don’t know that there is already co-ordination between the provincial and environmental reviews, that there is constitutional protection for treaty rights in those processes and fast-tracking them is certainly not something that the First Nations are going to accept in relation to their territories,” said Scott.
Gloria Swain (MES ’17) is presenting her work in this year’s art exhibition, I Am Still Here: Black Joy is Resistance, sponsored by TD, at Union Station till May 31, 2023. The exhibit theme of “Black Joy is Resistance” came to life during many honest conversations between Union, Gloria Swain and MakeRoom Inc. MakeRoom Inc. was looking to create space for joy during Black History Month.
In discussing how joy can relate to resistance, Gloria Swain explained “Black Joy is Resistance” when she spoke about the racism she has experienced and how she chose joy and love as an act of resistance. The exhibit is open to the public and Swain’s work will be presented in the Oak Room and MakeRoom Inc.’s Collection in the West Wing of Union Station.
PhD candidate, Aidin Torkameh, wrote an article in The Bullet (2023) on the Rhythm of Revolution in Iran: In the Name of Zhina (Mahsa) Amini. Torkameh notes that women’s leadership of the protests following the death of Amini has shaken the Islamic-Shiist foundations of established power. Accordingly, there is a lot to learn, discuss, and critically reflect on these protests. "We are facing a stunning eruption of revolutionary artistic performances to reclaim public space." In this article, he highlights some unexplored and/or missing points in these new discussions about the nature of the movement in Iran.
Peter Vandergeest was recently interviewed by Destructive Fishing Watch - Indonesia on changing conditions of fisher workers. Vandergeest is principal investigator of the SSHRC-funded project Work at Sea: Explaining Labour Relations in the Global Fishing Industry. The project aims, in particular, to understand labour issues as experienced by workers and worker support organizations. It is contributing to geographical and cognate debates concerning labour geography and migration, political ecology, and global production networks for seafood. For more information on the project, read their earlier research spotlight.
Mark Winfield has been cited in a Toronto Star article titled Russia's invasion of Ukraine was expected to stifle the global move to green energy. He shared his point of view on the energy security crisis that was triggered by the events of Russian invasion of Ukraine. Winfield stated that many European countries are choosing more sustainable energy sources due to the spike in gas prices that was triggered by the events of the war. Accordingly, this will serve as an accelerator for clean energy transition which will positively impact clean energy development.
Kathy Young recently participated in a Qausuittuq National Park Research Strategy meeting in Resolute Bay, Cornwallis Island. Qausuittuq, Inuktitut for “place where the sun doesn't rise”, is an area rich in natural and cultural heritage located on Bathurst Island in Canada's Arctic Archipelago. Jointly managed by Inuit and Parks Canada, the park protects key habitat for the endangered Peary caribou. Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs) are conducted to incorporate environmental considerations into the development of public policies, plans, and program proposals to support environmentally-sound decision making of the national park and park reserves.
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