Management of Biosphysical Environment 2017

About this class

This course will examine the concepts and methods used by the state to manage the natural environment. Through an investigation into contemporary environmental issues in Canada (with occasional reference to other areas of the world) we will develop an understanding of the particular rationales for and evolution of state management. Important trends and issues are treated with particular attention to Indigenous rights. As part of the course, we use our developing understanding of course material to write critical blog posts on contemporary  environmental issues.

 

University of Guelph
by KRB on October 10, 2017
Ontario’s wicked hydro problem

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University of Guelph
by birdsandpalmtrees on October 10, 2017
The CBC news article “Proposed clearcut near pending expansion of protected wilderness area sparks concern” discusses a proposed 20 hectare logging harvest adjacent to 150 hectares of wilderness area awaiting protected area designation by the Nova Scotia Department of Environment. The stakeholders involved include local residents and recreationalists; environmentalists and environmental organizations; aboriginals and the state.

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University of Guelph
by ahall12 on October 10, 2017
This article summarizes the recent changes taking place in the United States regarding resource extraction, specifically coal mining, and the reaction this has gotten from the public, environmental groups, and other members of the government. President Trump has taken steps to change regulations and to revamp resource extraction efforts on federal owned public lands, including national parks and reserves, and to bring back the coal mining industry. This has brought on much controversy because of the drastic change in priorities from the Obama administration to the Trump administration.

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University of Guelph
by acarbis on October 8, 2017
    TransCanada recently announced it would be cancelling their plans to extend a pipeline system that would have brought oil from Alberta and Saskatchewan to processing and exporting facilities in Quebec and New Brunswick (Evans, 2017).  In the news article titled “Mixed Reaction in Northwestern Ontario over Energy East Cancellation”, published by CBC, the positive and negative implications of the cancelled pipeline were examined.

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University of Guelph
by Trevor Machmer on October 7, 2017
With climate change being ever present in the mind of concerned citizens it is important to focus on how humanity can, and has been reducing their eco-footprint. With an increasing energy use per person humanity has had to find renewable sources that can maintain our energy use in a sustainable manner. The authors analyze the current trends of renewable energy implementation with renewable energy accounting for 60 percent of new systems and 24 percent of the world’s energy now being from renewable sources.

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University of Guelph
by Andriwagner on October 7, 2017
Canada’s Efforts in Conservation

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University of Guelph
by arseneam on October 7, 2017
Those who can offer any excess energy produced using renewable energy sources will receive credits on their energy bills thanks to the new net metering program Nunavut and WWF-Canada has created. CBC’s Sima Zerehi praises this new program which has a goal of reducing Nunavut’s reliance on diesel fuel as well as educating the public on the benefits of renewable energy for the future. The credits are only offered for those who generate a maximum of 10kW of power, or small businesses which will in turn be given to the community’s power grid.

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University of Guelph
by megpunter on October 6, 2017
“Companies Finally Pay for Athabasca River Coal Mine Spill” The Athabasca River in Alberta has suffered many coal mine spills in the recent past, and the companies responsible are now paying the price. The question is whether a fine is enough. Within the span of four months, two companies have been charged for the dumping of effluent waste into the river, an ecologically significant habitat for many species such as the endangered rainbow trout, as well as a water source to many, and a culturally significant landform for First Nation peoples.

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University of Guelph
by Helen L on October 6, 2017
When the scope of a project is as big as that of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the point of contention is no longer where the point of compromise lies. Instead, it becomes as cut and dry as any large-scale environmental issue can be, especially in the case of non-renewable resources – it becomes either you support it, or you don’t. Evidently, for the Government of Canada, the reply is a resounding “yes” to the pipeline.

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University of Guelph
by jballard on October 6, 2017
According to a recent report by the WWF, feeding the ever-growing population of Earth is putting an immense strain on natural resources and biodiversity, primarily in already vulnerable landscapes around the world. Currently, the global population is over 7 billion people and rising quickly, our numbers are expected to reach 10 billion by 2060 (UN 2017). This increase in population coupled with an increase in demand for meat and animal by-products is quickly making animal agriculture one of the most unsustainable efforts on the planet.

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University of Guelph
by spalmer on October 6, 2017
  As temperatures across the globe continue to rise, the severity of droughts and floods has also continued to escalate. While global warming is expected to result in crop failures in many parts of the world, Canadians may see something different: agricultural expansion.   

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University of Guelph
by JohnAdams1776 on October 6, 2017
The article listed below discusses the effects of the severe forest fires in BC over the summer and how they will affect the forestry industry in both the short and long term.  Specifically, an industry that is already in a state of transition as a result of the pine beetle infestation and the threat of a new trade war with the United States, will now have to deal with the loss of 53 million cubic metres of timber which is equivalent to a typical year’s total harvest.

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University of Guelph
by niancu on October 6, 2017
The purpose of the article I chose was to bring awareness to the negative contributions of pollution coming from the Canadian side of Lake St. Clair. Detroit, Michigan and Sarnia, Ontario are two cities that border Lake St. Clair and St. Clair river. This article looks at the Canadian side of the lake and the factories such as Shell Canada’s fuel dock that contribute to the pollution of the water and air. Sarnia is within the Canadian Chemical Valley, which is an area that produces 40% of petrochemicals for Canada. There have been a large number of chemical spills in St.

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University of Guelph
by Astro on October 6, 2017
Non-native oysters have invaded Denmark’s shores. It is a disaster to native species because these oysters have over-populated and covered Scandinavian Coast. Under such a critical situation, Denmark’s embassy in China posted a commentary article this April on a Chinese social networking named Weibo. It described how these tiny guys “travel” from Asia to Europe and have reproduced in a dramatic speed. This article received more than 15000 responses in about ten days. One famous comment was “what extent do you want us to eat?

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University of Guelph
by nbitter on October 6, 2017
Numbers of wild Atlantic salmon are disappearing and salmon farms may be to blame. Earlier this week, a news article published by National Post revealed the Atlantic salmon of Magaguadavic River in New Brunswick, Canada are now gone. This was suggested by an Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) monitoring report claiming zero salmon were recorded this year swimming up river to their historical spawning grounds. The ASF believes an expansion of fish farming in the region is the main cause.

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University of Guelph
by mmccalli on October 6, 2017
One week ago, Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla announced that the company was approximately halfway done building and installing a 100 MW/ 129 MWh utility-grade lithium ion battery bank near the 100 MW Hornsdale Wind Farm in Southern Australia. When complete, Tesla’s battery bank will be three times larger than the largest grid-tied system in the world. Musk promised to deliver this massive project to South Australia after years of sporadic power outages. He also promised that he would finish installing the battery bank in 100 days of the project’s approval or it would be free.

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University of Guelph
by ldewar on October 6, 2017
Winding down after the worst wildfire season on record for British Columbia, the provincial state of emergency and evacuation orders have been rescinded. In the CBC News article, “Fires compound losses of harvestable timber in BC's Interior,” it is stated that in just three months, nearly 50,000 people were displaced from their homes and costed the province more than $510 million to fight (Kelly, 2017). The lack of precipitation and fuel buildup resulted in the merger of nineteen forest fires to form the single largest blaze in BC history.

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University of Guelph
by jgabriel on October 6, 2017
The recent history of managing ash resources in Ontario has been full of government strategies that have all ended in failure. With ash populations plummeting to extinction, this resource management disaster can be attributed to one invasive species, the emerald ash borer.

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University of Guelph
by ejada on October 6, 2017
Here’s a little food for thought… Canada wastes an estimated $31-billion dollar in food each year. That’s a lot of money rotting in landfills.  In the CBC article by Melissa Mancini and Nelisha Vellani, they explore Canada’s enormous size  and cost of food waste, the lack of our government’s legislation and management, and how Canadian organizations have taken a lead to the food waste management problem. The agricultural Minister, Lawrence MacAulay expresses in the article that food waste policy is currently not of priority for the Canadian government.

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1 week 4 days ago
Hi!

Hi!
You picked an interesting topic to write about, and I really liked your explanation about what types of conflict are present and why you think regulations are the best option in the situation.
Did your belief that the residents know the cost progress would have come from your extra reading on the topic or the article? It wasn't entirely clear which it was, in context.

2 weeks 2 hours ago

Canada was actually built on a staples economy. The British used Canada for their resources and only colonized to extract resources more easily. Resource extraction can be quite damaging to the environment and to those who depend on nature as a part of their livelihoods. Although oil can create many jobs for people it is more often then not that these people are not locals, who need the jobs.

2 weeks 2 hours ago

It is important to conserve land due to the ecosystems that need the area to survive. Parks are especially important for species who are at risk or cannot adapt to human intervention. First Nations often lived off the now conserved land and were displaced in order to build the National Parks. So if the government decides to get rid of the parks the land should go back to the rightful owners. The government should keep the parks and conserve the land by providing more funding to Parks Canada.

11 months 1 week ago

Hey Leo,
I really enjoyed your radio transcript on ocean acidification, it had all the important information and each topic flowed nicely into the next. I enjoyed that you used humour to try and engage the audience on the seriousness of the issue. Perhaps something you could have talked about is how many people around the world rely on the oceans for not just their food, but also their income. The collapse of fisheries can have huge consequences on the economy of a region. Perhaps tying it into the economy would be something that could make listeners think twice the next time they do a fossil fuel intensive activity, or vote, as the economy is something everyone wants to improve. I also thought that by just saying that the oceans will heal themselves with time and that we just need to take a step back, might make listeners put it at the back of their mind and may never think of it again as there is not much they can do. Perhaps there would be a better call to action? I'm not exactly sure what that would be either, because ocean acidification is a huge problem and there is no quick fix, just time like you and Harriet already mentioned. Its unfortunate that we as humans have a tendency to not want to deal with issues that are not an immediate threat or one in the not too distant future.
Great job, it was informative!

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About the author

Associate Professor of Geography, University of Guelph.

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