Welcome to the March 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.
Mahtot Gebresselassie on wheelchair users’ perspectives on transportation services hailed through Uber and Lyft applications.
Peter Victor on modelling alternative economic and environmental futures.
Aeisha Aggarwal and Kathy Young on understanding seasonal vulnerability to climate change in Southeast Iceland.
Christian Anderson on a parallax view of everyday life and place-based urban political economy.
Accolades, Appointments, and Awards
York University has launched a new research centre - the Institute for Technoscience & Society. EUC professor Kean Birch is the inaugural director of the new centre, which aims to build a global hub of critical interdisciplinary research and knowledge mobilization on the configuration of social power underpinning scientific claims, medical practices, emerging technologies, and sites of innovation.
"York has one of the largest concentrations of internationally-renowned experts working on these important societal issues and the ITS aims to support these researchers as they promote socially responsible and inclusive technoscience,” says Birch. Kean has recently published a new policy briefing on Personal Data Governance in the Big Tech Era and a policy report on Rethinking Canada’s Competition Policy in the Digital Economy.
Sheila Colla has received a World Wildlife Fund grant for a project on increasing pollinator habitat and awareness around the Native Plant Garden at York University.
The garden, located outside the Health, Nursing, & Environmental Studies (HNES) building at York, is a wildlife oasis in the middle of concrete, lawns, and buildings.
In spring/summer of 2023, the Centre for Bee Ecology, Evolution and Conservation (BEEc) and EUC will hold two public outreach events about pollinators and native plants, with hands-on gardening components. Interpretive signs will be installed about native plants' purpose and value. The project involve faculty, staff and students at EUC and the Faculty of Science.
Mike Layton, EUC adjunct professor and MES alumnus, has been appointed as York University's first Chief Sustainability Officer. Layton is a proven champion of climate action and equality with almost two decades of experience leading change in public policy in senior roles both inside and outside government. At York, Layton will engage the community to ensure that sustainability continues to be a critical part of the university's work. He will be one of the guest speakers at the Sustainability and Climate Action Conference on Friday, March 31. For more info, read YFile News.
Phyllis Novak, Environmental Studies doctoral student, is the new Director of EUC's Maloca and Native Plant Gardens. Novak is a social and eco-arts facilitator/curator, researcher, and strategist, trained in theatre performance with an interdisciplinary arts practice. In 2021-2022, she curated and directed SKETCH’s Making with Place Public Art Project series for ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art (in collaboration with fellow graduate student Charlotte Lombardo). The project is guided by EUC faculty members Sarah Flicker and Lisa Myers.
Novak was recently a supporting producer for the mural 'For the Birds', a massive sticker project on the HNES windows. The project is part of an Academic Innovation Fund project by Gail Fraser, Lisa Myers, and Traci Warkentin centred around migratory bird mortality from window strikes. The design of the art occurred in ENVS 2122 Environmental Arts for Social Change. The installation was student driven by the Sky Studio Collective.
Stuart Schussler, Environmental Studies doctoral student, has been awarded a fellowship from the Provost’s Program for Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Scholars at the University of Waterloo. Stuart's project, "Bridging the Gap: The Makings of Constructive Service Learning with Community Organizations" will aid university students in learning from the social movement organizations that shape our political landscape. He will research the best practices of university faculty and staff who have created successful service learning projects with community organizations, creating the tools that will help more students support these dynamic organizations in ways that are both useful and accountable.
Joshua Thienpont was awarded an inaugural Outstanding Service Award from the Society of Canadian Aquatic Sciences at their 2023 annual meeting in Montreal in February.
Eleven members of the Limnology and Paleoenvironmental Research Group, including Jennifer Korosi and students, participated in the Annual Meeting which aims to enhance understanding of aquatic systems and to highlight areas where urgent action to protect and restore these aquatic ecosystems is necessary.
Thienpont is on the executive board of the Society, which represents Canada's vibrant scientific community studying all things aquatic.
Publications and Reports
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.
Baltruszewicz, M., Julia K. Steinberger, J.K, Paavola, J. Ivanova, D., Brand-Correa, L.I., Owen, A. (2023). Social outcomes of energy use in the United Kingdom: Household energy footprints and their links to well-being, Ecological Economics, Volume 205, March, 107686.
Birch, K. (2023) Personal Data Governance in the Big Tech Era: What is Happening to Our Personal Data?, ITS Policy Briefing #01-2023.
Birch, K. and Adediji, D. (2023) Rethinking Canada’s Competition Policy in the Digital Economy, ITS Policy Report #01-2023.
Eludoyin, A.O., Olusola, A.O., Fashae, O.A., Jeje, L.K., Faniran, A. (2023). Geology and Landscapes of the Southwestern Nigeria. In: Faniran, A., Jeje, L.k., Fashae, O.A., Olusola, A.O. (eds) Landscapes and Landforms of Nigeria. Springer: World Geomorphological Landscapes.
Faniran, A., Kosoko Jeje L., Fashae O.A. and Olusola, A.O. (2023) Eds. Landscapes and Landforms of Nigeria. Springer: Geomorphological Landscape Book Series.
Fashae, O.A., Olusola, A.O., Obateru, R., Faniran, A. (2023). Quartzite Ridges in Southwestern Nigeria. In: Faniran, A., Jeje, L.k., Fashae, O.A., Olusola, A.O. (eds) Landscapes and Landforms of Nigeria. World Geomorphological Landscapes. Springer, Cham
Jeje, L.K., Orimoogunje, O., Olusola, A.O. (2023). Hills and Ridges in Southwestern Nigeria. In: Faniran, A., Jeje, L.k., Fashae, O.A., Olusola, A.O. (eds) Landscapes and Landforms of Nigeria. World Geomorphological Landscapes. Springer, Cham.
Keil, R., Ali, H. and Treffers, S. (2023). Extending the boundaries of ‘urban society’: The urban political ecologies and pathologies of Ebola virus disease in West Africa. In Turning up the heat: Urban political ecology for a climate emergency. Manchester University Press.
Kepkiewicz, L. W., Boissoneau , D., Giacomini, T., Fenton, A., Lickers Xavier, A., & Rotz, S. (2023). Field Notes from RAIR: Putting Relational Accountability into Practice. Canadian Food Studies / La Revue Canadienne Des études Sur l’alimentation, 10(1), 13–21.
Meherali, S., Munro, S. Puinean, G., Salami, B., Pui-Hing Wong, J., Vandermorris, A., Benoit, J.R.A., Flicker, S., Okeke-Ihejirika, P., Eleni Stroulia, E., Norman, W.V., and Scott, S.D. (2023). Co-designing a Sexual Health App With Immigrant Adolescents: Protocol for a Qualitative Community-Based Participatory Action Research Study. JMIR Publications: Advancing Digital Health and Open Science. March.
Olusegun, C., Ogunjo, S. and Olusola, A. (2023). Evolution and copula modelling of drought duration and severity over Africa using CORDEX-CORE regional climate models. International Journal of Climatology, March.
Olusola, A., Ogunjo, S. & Olusegun, C. (2023). The role of teleconnections and solar activity on the discharge of tropical river systems within the Niger basin. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 195, 476.
Winfield, M., Hill, S. and Gaede, J. (2023). Eds. Sustainable Energy Transitions in Canada. UBC Press. November.
Yousuf, B. and Hyndman, J. (2023). Nation, gender and location: understanding transnational families in the face of violence (Chapter 4). In Handbook on Migration and the Family (2023) edited by Johanna Waters and Brenda Yeoh, pp. 51-67.
Zalik, A. "Cercados marinos y geojurídica: Extracción en la zona fuera de jurisdicción nacional" in Hernandez Cervantes y Lopez Barcenas (eds; 2023). Derecho, despojo y luchas sociales: Analisis socio juridicos y testimonios de lucha frente a al desposesion. Mexico: Bonilla/Colegio de San Luis.
Events and Media Coverage
Kean Birch was featured on "The Decibel" podcast from The Globe and Mail, sharing his views on Netflix's decision to introduce new rules for password sharing. Birch noted that Netflix’s business model was bound to run into problems, as competition from other streaming services pulls content off the platform and draws users away. The question is, will it work?
Lina Brand Correa delivered a micro lecture on Power to the People: Energy for Sustainable Living. Accordingly energy is everywhere, and the energy systems we rely on are also the main drivers of climate change. In her talk, Correa explores issues of fairness, the pace of change and the relationship between energy and economic growth and considers the universe of possibilities that opens up when you challenge yourself to make change.
The video is part of York University's free Microlecture Series in Sustainable Living. Learn more and earn a Digital Badge as a Sustainable Living Ambassador at https://www.yorku.ca/sustainableliving/.
EUC organized a panel discussion on Raju Das' book Marx's Capital, Capitalism and the Limits to the State: Theoretical Considerations (2022) with discussants Greg Albo, Professor, Department of Politics, York University and Stefan Kipfer, Professor, Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change.
The volume unpacks the capitalist state’s functions in relation to commodity relations, private property, and the crisis-ridden production of (surplus) value as a part of the capital circuit. It also examines state’s political and geographical forms. Read more details in YFile News.
The book was also reviewed by Chris Nineham in Counterfire, noting that it is an important restoration of Marx’s original revolutionary analysis.
Andil Gosine's artwork from the 2014-2018 SSHRC project "Visual Arts After Indenture" was the subject of a public lecture by Subhalakshmi Gooptu, Professor of World Literature at Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY) who also published an article on it in Feminist Review. In addition, his book Nature's Wild was featured on Episode 43 of the podcast "Conversations in Atlantic Theory."
Chandra Maracle, ES PhD student, is featured in the latest episode of Paulette Moore’s The Aunties Dandelion podcast (Paulette is also in the Environmental Studies PhD program). In the one-hour interview, Chandra discusses food sovereignty as the reason why the Haudenosaunee/Rotinonhsyón:ni Confederacy became elevated in our collective thinking (Kanikonríyo) and envisioning -- as well as her current role as a scholar/artist with EUC and beyond.
Chandra is also part of the Earth-to-Tables Legacies project that offers education packages containing videos and photo essays using food as an entry to pressing issues, such as Indigenous-settler relations, food justice and food sovereignty, and anti-racism in the food movement.
Cate Sandilands was one of the panelists of the “Queer Ecologies Panel” that described how to apply an LGBTQ-centered approach to ecology to “environmental and conservation work." The panel featured a diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI), and justice officer from American Rivers, which addresses “climate change, unnecessary dams, pollution, floods, and outdated policies.”
Dayna Scott shared her opinion in Elliot Lake Today on the process of environmental assessment for road projects servicing Ontario's Ring of Fire. Serving as an adviser to the Neskantaga Nation, Scott noted that the Neskantaga Nation has been excluded from most of the process. In an interview with The Trillium, Scott argues that "There have been attempts by the consultants for the projects to consult or engage with the Neskantaga First Nation, but there have been no meaningful attempts to actually adopt the consultation protocols that Neskantaga requires."
Mimi Shulman, MES alumna and mixed media artist, was featured at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) with her work on Knotty Love: A Medal for the Modern Woman. Her historical and romantic one-of-a-kind jewellery with bows, hearts, love knots, birds, and cupids cast in silver or gold that is designed for modern women. Accordingly, they are expressions of her feelings and fears transformed into a physical object with wit and irony by “taking a serious situation and lightening it.” She plays upon the association of jewellery as gift—even for oneself—that mark life’s events, saying, “I decided that I needed a medal for coming this far in life.”
Greg Thiemann shared his knowledge on the process of bear tracking in Gizmodo online magazine. On the topic of "A Better Way to Track Polar Bears: Stick a Burr in Their Fur," Thiemann explained that tracking devices can be very helpful in recording bear's location. The best part of using the burr-on-fur-tracking devices is that bears' skin does not have to be pierced for the device to be fully attached as it does with more invasive instruments like ear tags. Thiemann also noted that bears tend to engage in wrestling behaviours with each other, which means that firm attachment of the tracking device is critical in ensuring that no data will get lost.
Steven Tufts, a spokesperson for the Toronto Airport Workers’ Council, was cited in a Toronto Star article on Toronto Pearson's new flight limits this March break noting that airlines need to do their part to ensure they adhere to the cap limits to avoid the travel turmoil in 2022. “Airlines have to still commit not to overselling,” Tufts said. “Hopefully knowing they have a capacity limit put on by Pearson means … they’ll go back and adjust their algorithms appropriately.”
Mark Winfield shared his views on the quick process of approval for mines with CBC in an article titled "Doug Ford government wants to speed up mining permits in Ontario". Winfield states that many mining projects in Ontario receive special exemptions to accelerate the speed of project approval. "I find it difficult to imagine how the approvals process for mines could be more streamlined than it already is," said Winfield, "I would be particularly sensitive to things that let them further off the hook on liabilities for mine closure and clean-up."
Join us for Peter Victor's book launch of Escape from Overshoot with special guests:
The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and David Miller, Managing Director, C40 Centre for City Climate Policy and Economy and former Mayor of Toronto (virtual). You can reserve either free in-person tickets or livestream tickets. Doors open at 5.00pm. Remarks by the special guests and the author, and the livestream, will start at 5.30pm. Snacks and non-alcoholic drinks will be provided. Escape from Overshoot: Economics for a Planet in Peril, and other books by Peter Victor, will be available for purchase at a discount. The book is also available directly from New Society Publishers.
Anna Zalik co-wrote an opinion piece on Indigenous ‘priorities’ and the threat of investor-state arbitration in The Hill Times. Zalik argues that TC Energy’s pursuit of investor-state arbitration over U.S. President Joe Biden’s cancellation of Keystone XL serves as a warning to Mexico.
EUC has concluded its Food Sovereignty winter seminar series organized by Martha Stiegman in collaboration with Seed Change with our last talk on Feminist Agroecologies on March 23 that featured Leonida Odongo (Kenya), Tiffany Traverse (Secwépemcúlecw) Fourth Sister Farm, and Julia Kamau (Kenya) Seed Savers Network, Kenya. Four webinars held over the winter term explored themes related to Food & Seed Sovereignty, featuring movement leaders working to strengthen traditional and agroecological food systems and to defend women’s and farmers rights, in the face of land grabbing, restrictive intellectual property right regimes and policies designed to support the expansion of corporate agribusiness. Visit our Seed Sovereignty YouTube Channel to see and listen to our previous seminars. Thank you to all our presenters, partners and participants!
The EUC Research Update is compiled by the Research Office at EUC: Associate Dean Research, Graduate & Global Affairs Philip Kelly, Research Officer Rhoda Reyes, and Research Assistants Danielle Legault and Igor Lutay. Thanks to Paul Tran for the web design and development.
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