Welcome to the September 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.
Summer Solmes (BES Sustainable Environmental Management graduate) on assessing changes in insect biomass and biodiversity at the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve.
Jesse Hughes (BES Sustainable Environmental Management student) on quantifying predator type and abundance adjacent to Common Tern nesting platforms at Tommy Thompson Park.
Altrisha Rodrigues (BSc Environmental Science student) on bioindicators of legacy arsenic ecotoxicity in Yellowknife lakes impacted by historic gold mining operations.
Mariam Alam (BES Sustainable Environmental Management student) on establishing a comprehensive database of green bonds.
Accolades, Acknowledgement, and Awards
Congratulations to the team of EUC researchers who have won a SSHRC Partnership Grant for their project titled The International Ecological Footprint Learning Lab: Training, research and novel applications. The team is led by Peter Victor as principal investigator, with Eric Miller, Katie Kish, Tarmo Remmel, Brynhildur Davíðsdóttir (University of Iceland) and David Lin (Global Footprint Network) as co-directors. Martin Bunch, Peter Mulvihill, Peter Timmerman, Sheila Colla, Gregory Thiemann, Jennifer Korosi, Lina Brand-Correa, and Adeyemi Olusola are co-applicants/collaborators. The partnership draws on the strengths of York University, University of Iceland, British Columbia Institute of Technology, and the Global Footprint Network, to create novel research applications and teaching expertise on ecological economics and systems modelling. The project will train a generation of interdisciplinary students and postdoctoral fellows over 7 years to effectively engage with issues at the intersection of sustainability and justice challenges. It will also strengthen the relationship between the Ecological Footprint Initiative, the Footprint Data Foundation, and the Global Footprint Network as well as forge a vibrant international Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity (EFB) research network. In addition, MES student Data Analysts Peri Dworatzek, Elaine Howarth, Sandy Kazubowski-Houston, and Kiona Lo, working with, Anna Stratton as Data Communications Specialist, and with Eric Miller as Director, wrapped up their summertime intensive work on the forthcoming 2024 Edition of the National Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts. The team wrangled about 47 million rows of data about international crop and livestock production and trade, fish capture and culture, forest products, national and fugitive emissions, land cover and use, international trade of commodities and final goods, ocean sequestration, and social and economic statistics. The final product will be launched in early 2024 after ongoing work to conclude quality assurance and methodological innovations
Kean Birch received a SSHRC Insight Grant for his project titled Digital Data Value Paradox: An Empirical Investigation of Personal Data Valuation. The project will investigate three empirical examples of personal data valuation represented by standard-setters, law courts, and businesses to develop a common definition and conception of personal data valuation that policymakers and others can use to pursue policies, regulations, and standards that promote the social value of personal data. It will develop a framework for Canadian policymakers - federal and provincial - to use in their evaluation of the implications of personal data on privacy, fiscal, competition, and regulatory policies.
Adeyemi Olusola and Joshua Thienpont received a Canada Foundation for Innovation-John Evans Leaders Fund (CFI-JELF) grant for their project Landscapes in Transition: Environmental Sensitivities Due to Climate Change. The project will study the impact of a changing climate and geomorphic changes across different ecosystems, and work with community partners, stakeholders/rightsholders, and decision-makers to facilitate knowledge-to-action around environmental sensitivities. Their research will use the latest technological advancements in field-based surveying, laboratory sample analysis, and computing to understand how and why environmental geohazards are impacting ecosystem sensitivity across Canada.
Patricia Burke Wood received a Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute award for Faculty Collaboration and Internationalization (SFCI). Wood will work with colleagues from the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) on "Urban Theory and Methodology - Integrating Perspectives from the Global South and North". The project will strengthen the collaboration between the two participating faculty members (Wood and Himanshu Burte from IIT) and their institutions in thematic areas of urban studies, geography, planning and infrastructure.
Cole Swanson, PhD student in Environmental Studies, has been awarded a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship for his research on the use of material-based art to explore the dynamic ecology of a bird colony with a stigmatized reputation, the double-crested cormorants (Nannopterum auritum). Working against dangerous imaginaries on cormorants fuelled by religious, settler-colonial, and extractivist histories and politics, Swanson will examine life in the colony to illuminate the entanglements between avian, human and more-than-human worlds. Cole is working with EUC environmental ecologist, Gail Fraser. The project will culminate in a multisensory art exhibition composed of photo, video and sound recorded from the colony, which will be shared with a diverse public for analysis useful in both scientific and social contexts.
Sarah Rotz is a co-investigator in a University of Regina SSHRC Insight Grant led by André Magnan on Digitalization, financialization, and consolidation in the Canadian agri-food sector. The project will analyze how the intersecting trends of digitalization, financialization, and consolidation will transform Canadian agriculture, leading to changes in the scale, organization, and business strategies of farms, with implications for farmers, workers, and rural communities. It will also examine how these trends give rise to new actors and new relationships in the agri-food sector, shape farmer practices and subjectivities, and lead to new types of agri-food contestation.
Anna Zalik is a co-investigator in a Queen's University SSHRC Connection Grant by Kesha Fevrier (EUC-PhD alumna) for a workshop on Contested Regional Energy Futures. The workshop aims to address information gaps on regionally interconnected energy projects across the Caribbean and continental North America. The workshop will examine the cross-regional interests and interconnections among significant ongoing and proposed extractive and energy development to facilitate a collective mapping of key spatial and financial links across the broader region.
Deena Kara Schaffer, EUC-OSAS director, has published a book titled Feel Good Learning: On how to prioritise, focus, study, and learn everything better. The book addresses many topics to ensure "feel good learning", including: meaningful and effective studying; reclaiming focus; skillful prioritization; strategies for note-taking and test-taking; working through distraction; working with others; and managing time and stress.
Rosanna Chowdhury, EUC Experiential Education Coordinator, has received the Deborah Hobson York Citizenship Award as part of the President’s Staff Recognition Awards! This award recognizes employees who have demonstrated a high level of service to students and who promote York’s spirit in terms of creativity, innovation and redefining the possible in service to the University community. Part of EUC since 2018, Rosanna has championed student career-based opportunities and work-integrated learning, fostered meaningful community partnerships, and advanced Decolonizing, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (DEDI) initiatives.
Publications and Reports
Auger, B., Nevalainen, L., Blais, J.M., Thienpont, J. and Korosi, J. (2023). A comparative paleolimnological analysis of Chydorus exposure to ultraviolet radiation associated with shoreline retrogressive thaw slumping in lakes of the Mackenzie Delta uplands (Northwest Territories, Canada). Journal of Paleolimnology, 70, 193–204.
Brand Correa, L. (2023). Demand-side, socio-cultural and systemic solutions: The contributions of Max-Neef's work for climate change and sustainability. In Beyond Ecological Economics and Development: Critical Reflections on the Thought of Manfred Max-Neef, edited by Luis Valenzuela and María del Valle Barrera (London: Routledge).
Das, R. J. (2023). Marxism and revisionism in the world today. Capital & Class, 47(3), 383–406.
Keil, R. (2023). Covid, Contagion and Comparative Urban Research. In The Routledge Handbook of Comparative Global Urban Studies, edited by Patrick Le Galès and Jennifer Robinson. (London: Routledge).
Lombardo, C., Novak, P., and Flicker, S. (2023). Making With Place: Youth Public Art Experiments. Art/Research/International:/A/Transdisciplinary/Journal, 8(1), 142–172.
Olusegun, C., Ojo, O., Olusola, A. et al. (2023). Solar radiation variability across Nigeria’s climatic zones: a validation and projection study with CORDEX, CMIP5, and CMIP6 models. Modeling Earth Systems & Environment.
Schaffer, D.K.(2023). Feel Good Learning: On how to prioritise, focus, study, and learn everything better. (Independently published).
Viswanathan, L. (2023). The Deliberate Doctorate: A Values-Focused Journey to Your PhD. UBC Press.
EUC Media Coverage and Events
Dean Alice Hovorka travelled with York President's Delegation this September to India.
During the multi-city trip that included Bangalore, Mumbai and New Delhi, the delegation connected with graduates and students from select universities to connect with alumni and promote the university curriculum and spoke about York University's commitment to creating positive change in communities both at home and abroad.
Claire Hooker, EUC scholar-in-residence from The University of Sydney, was recently at York and delivered a talk on September 21st titled Arts and cultural activity are crucial for effective disaster management: here's why! In the presentation, Hooker provided an overview of arts- and culture-engaged disaster management studies to date. An Associate Professor in Health and Medical Humanities at Sydney Health Ethics and President of the Arts Health Network NSW/ACT, Hooker undertakes research and advocacy in two areas - risk communication, particularly in relation to infectious disease, and the creative arts and health.
On September 26th, Leela Viswanathan, MES and PhD alumna, launched her newly published book The Deliberate Doctorate: A Values-Focused Journey to your PhD (UBC Press, 2023).
In this book, Viswanathan takes a “whole person” approach to the PhD experience and addresses typically unconsidered but crucial topics such as self-care, networking, and the non-academic career path.
Readers are led through a personalized map of the process: reflective exercises will guide them in identifying their values and then aligning these with their skills, activities, and resources to achieve success on their own terms.
This is a must-read for doctoral students and supervisors, or those considering doing a PhD. EUC PhD Students Sayed Dastgheib-Beheshti and Charlotte Lombardo provided commentaries on the book.
Raju Das organized a workshop on September 27th titled Envision, Write, Revise, Repeat: An Academic Publishing Workshop that featured journal editors (including Roger Keil and EUC Adjunct Karen Morin) workshopping papers by PhD students and postdocs, and offered guidance on the publishing process. The event was co-sponsored by the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) and EUC with support from the journal Critical Sociology (Sage London), Office of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation (VPRI) and the York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR). Das, along with David Fasenfest, will also hold a symposium featuring Marxist urbanist Mahito Hayashi who will speak on “Rescaling Urban Poverty: Homelessness, State Restructuring and City Politics in Japan”. Discussants include: Alfredo Saad-Filho, King’s College London; Ken Kawashima, University of Toronto; Greg Albo, York University; Hyun Ok Park, York University. The event will be held at Kaneff Tower 519, from 10.00am-12.00pm on October 2nd. Link to event.
On September 29th, join Phyllis Novak, Director of York University’s Maloca and Native Plant Gardens, as they lead an interactive arts workshop on working with natural dyes to invigorate our activist spirit and practice. The event is part of OPIRG York's DisOrientation Week, an alternative Frosh Week to get students interested and involved in campus-based social justice work. This year’s DisOrientation celebrates the environmental and social justice gains made by student and community organizers, and is dedicated to sharing activist knowledge and resources, and building capacity for organizers new to York University. For more information, please visit: www.opirgyork.org.
Further, the Maloca Garden also has Harvest Studios hosted by Joce Two Crows, every Tuesday and Thursday, from 4-6pm, throughout the season until the middle of November 2023.
Steven Tufts has done numerous interviews and media appearances on the negotiations underway between Canadian autoworkers and their employers. In a CBC news piece, Tufts spoke about the current situation of the labour movement, noting that there's a trend toward more job action for better deals for workers. "I think it's going to be very unlikely that autoworkers in Canada are going to take an agreement that doesn't also have significant wage gains if the UAW is already on the way to making some significant gains," says Steven Tufts.
This month of September, the journal Small Axe produced a section of critical essays about Andil Gosine's book Nature’s Wild: Love, Sex, and Law in the Caribbean, which won the Duke University Press Scholars of Color First Book Award in 2021. There is a book discussion titled Embracing our Animal Selves: The Liberatory Politics of Andil Gosine’s Nature’s Wild by Kedon Willis, among other essays, with Gosine concluding with a piece on Animal History, Animal Future. Small Axe, published by Duke University Press, is a leading journal focused on critical work that examines the ideas that guided the formation of Caribbean modernities.
Mark Winfield contributed two articles on The Political and Policy Fallout from Doug Ford's Greenbelt Reversal and The Greenbelt "Episode", The State of Ontario Politics, and the Future of the GTHA in The Conversation. In these articles, Winfield notes that "the government seems to have no underlying vision for the Greater Toronto Area other than to give the development industry everything it wants and hope that solves the housing crisis. The industry itself has no vision for the region other than an overriding focus on short-term profit maximization." He underscored the complex and multidimensional challenges facing the GTA such as housing needs, structural economic transitions, and increasingly polarized labour markets, the impacts of a changing climate, and a growing fiscal crisis. Accordingly, responding to these challenges will require planning and decision-making processes grounded in democratic norms, evidence, transparency and accountability.
Kathy Lynn Young attended the 23rd Northern Research Basins (NRB) meeting in Northern Sweden where she gave a keynote talk on The History of the NRBs with the theme "Northern Hydrology in Transition."
She also gave a research talk on "The thermal regime of High Arctic tundra ponds, Polar Bear Pass, Nunavut, Canada". After the meeting, she travelled to Iceland and did some wetland research in Southeast Iceland.
Nashwa Lina Khan, EUC PhD student and community educator, facilitator, and researcher was recently interviewed in Huffpost about the Libyan floods and Morocco earthquake disasters, noting that these disasters have heightened the risks of trafficking and exploitation for girls and vulnerable groups. Particularly in Morocco's Atlas mountains, which are primarily inhabited by Morocco’s Indigenous Amazigh population, women and girls face unique challenges accessing resources, seeking shelter and relocating to safety outside of the mountainous regions. “Morocco is a really unique place because it lives in people’s minds as a vacation destination,” says Khan. “Morocco has a mixed population of people who do have means but then there’s a population who is precarious and in these moments are very vulnerable.”
On October 11-13th, the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics (CANSEE) will be holding its 14th Biennial Conference, By Design, Not Disaster: Grounding Economies During Times of Uncertainty, followed by its 4th Biennial Ecological Economics Summer Institute in May 2024. The purpose of CANSEE's conferences, summer institutes, special journal issues, digital teaching resources, virtual networking activities, policy debates, and creative practices is to cultivate the presence of ecological economics research in Canada. For these initiatives, CANSEE has partnered with the Ecological Footprint Initiative, the Sustainability Network, and York University's Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change.
On October 12th, EUC is hosting the Ontario Association of Geographic and Environmental Educators (OAGEE). OAGEE is a leading subject association for teachers in the province of Ontario with a mandate to support teachers in their implementation of the Ontario Ministry of Education's curriculum.
Several EUC colleagues will form a panel to discuss ‘Sustainable and Equitable Urbanism: Ranu Basu, Abidin Kusno, Joseph Mensah, and Laura Taylor. Please come along if you can: HNES 140, 5.00-6.00pm.
On October 13th, the 7th Biennial Ottawa Immigration Forum will be held in collaboration with Valerie Preston's SSHRC partnership project on Building Migrant Resilience in Cities. The theme will be Building Newcomer Integration Infrastructure: Networks, Knowledge, and Policy. During the event, expert speakers will reflect on new opportunities and challenges in the integration of immigrants in the context of rising immigration levels, structural challenges to newcomers’ economic integration in new labour market contexts, and settlement policy and services for temporary residents. Register for the forum here.
On October 18th, EUC adjunct professor/Dahdaleh research fellow and project co-lead, Mark Terry will discuss the events of this year's Planetary Health Film Lab (PHFL), examine this year's research in Central America, specifically in Belize. and showcase several films that will be presented at this year's UN climate summit, COP28 in Dubai. The project worked with Indigenous youth and their communities training them to tell stories of climate impacts in their communities using film. The films that were made in the lab have been reviewed by the United Nations and approved for addition to the UNFCCC's database of youth-made films known as the Youth Climate Report.
EUC CLIMATE SEMINAR - On October 19th, 3:30-5:30pm, HNES 140, Dr. Kai Bosworth from Virginia Commonwealth University will speak on "Pipeline Populism and the Climate Cycle of Struggles: 2010-2020". Organized by Carlota McAllister, this is the second event in EUC's Climate Seminar Series, which was inaugurated in May with the Indigenous Knowing and Climate Futures keynote panel during Congress 2023. The Climate Seminars are keynote events to bring the EUC community together and to engage with wider publics.
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 Work-Study Student Xinyu Mei. Thanks to Paul Tran for the web design and development.
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