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 egov96 on October 6, 2017
The news article I chose outlines the long, hard battle Alberta has been facing with the mountain pine beetle. Native to B.C., the pine beetle is an invasive species to Alberta and by the looks of it will soon be to Saskatchewan as well. Zoe Todd, the writer gains insight from a forestry professor and forest entomologist on the issue.

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University of Guelph
by cicada on October 6, 2017
Recently, Chile and the small island nation of Niue (containing only about 1600 people) have set aside some of their waters for conservation purposes. Niue devoted 40% of its economic zone while Chile created two new parks. Collectively, the two nations’ efforts have set aside an ocean area twice the size of Germany – specifically 290,000 square feet – for conservation purposes. The areas, which are listed as marine protected areas, strictly prohibit extractive activities such as fishing (Greshko, 2017).

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University of Guelph
by svantfoort on October 6, 2017
               On October 6, 2017 TransCanada announced a halt to the Energy East pipeline project.  Brandi Morin from CBC news wrote an article called Chiefs express shock, relief to Energy East pipeline halt, reflecting on the many problems with the proposed pipeline as well as the new sense of relief for First Nations people across the country.  This 15.7 billion dollar pipeline was proposed to run from Alberta and Saskatchewan to New Brunswick and Quebec, carrying over a million barrels of crude oil across Canada every day (Morin, 2017).  The Energy East pipeline threatened man

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University of Guelph
by IronEclipse on October 6, 2017
As the world continues to adjust to a low-carbon way of life, Canada will continue to extract and ship an abundance of oil resources.

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University of Guelph
by Jhunt08 on October 6, 2017
Canada and the United States share one of the most stable and profitable alliances in the world. Geographically speaking this relationship was inevitable, the Canada-United States border is the longest in the world and both countries are relatively isolated from other trading partners. Canadians and Americans also share a similar culture and colonial past that simplifies any collaboration between the countries. Despite this there are quarrels in every relationship and one of the most incessant is our conflict over softwood lumber.

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University of Guelph
by dwyerh on October 6, 2017
The European Union (EU) recently rejected the proposal of a tax that would be placed on the distribution and disposal of single-use plastic products. Instead of the tax, the EU committed to running a series of public awareness campaigns relating to the impacts of plastics on the environment. Justifying this decision, the vice president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, says that a tax implemented by the EU on plastics would not be sustainable, and that changing the way plastic was produced and used could be more effective.

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University of Guelph
by sleeming on October 6, 2017
While many millennials use the dating app Tinder to meet new people, conservationists are using Tinder to help Sudan – the world’s last male Northern White rhino – make a “last chance breeding effort” to save his species. An article in the Toronto Star by Tom Udula discusses the aims and reasoning behind the social media campaign to address the potential extinction of the northern white rhino.

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University of Guelph
by ar3210 on October 6, 2017
When we think of the Amazon rainforest, most people think of beautiful green forests, colourful animals, and the sound of rain bouncing off the leaves. The article I chose is called ‘Brazil backtracks on plan to open up Amazon forest to mining’ written by Johnathan Watts.

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University of Guelph
by Mark15patton on October 6, 2017
  Summary: The article called “Finding better wind energy potential with the new European Wind Atlas”  written by the American Institute of Physics covers exactly what you would expect. The article's purpose is to talk about the new venture the

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University of Guelph
by gib96 on October 6, 2017
UNESCO issues warning about Wood Buffalo National Park due to dams, development. In March of 2017 UNESCO released a report warning Wood Buffalo National Park about the environmental health of the park. The report listed energy development, hydro dams and poor management as the cause of the danger. The issues were raised first by the first nations who were concerned about the water levels. The water levels were so low that they became impassable which halted the navigation of the rivers which is a crucial to the first nation culture. B.C.

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University of Guelph
by leilit on October 6, 2017
In recent news, there have been debates in regards to the application of the TransCanada Keystone pipeline. This mega pipeline allows for the transportation of bitumen from Canada to the United States, connecting the two major countries together in efforts of economic benefit. The pipeline has been questioned by its proposed pathway, due to its negative effects on Indigenous Peoples land, ecosystems and its major environmental concerns. There is talk to further delay this 9-year-old project by presenting a proposed reroute of the pipeline, to avoid any environmental degradation.

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University of Guelph
by dscepano on October 6, 2017
Article summary: Federal government representatives of Canada have signed a deal with the Inuit peoples of Labrador which allows this group to develop a marine management plan, regarding the management of 380,000 km2 of coastal waters near the Northwest Passage using their traditional knowledge. The creation of such a management plan is in reaction to the melting glacial ice in the area.

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University of Guelph
by rknudsen on October 6, 2017
An article recently published by Huffington Post, seeks to analyze the forest decline we have been witnessing throughout Canada. The author, Michael Roson, links the aggressive decrease to 4 main topics: climate change, invasive species, poor urban planning decisions, and a lack of robust national urban forestry strategy. I think the purpose of this article was to draw attention to this pressing issue, that many people do not fully understand.

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University of Guelph
by robnot on October 6, 2017
The provincial government of Calgary has stated that, despite environmental concerns, it is going to continue to construct the southwest Calgary ring road. The project is to cost the taxpayer $1.42 billion and will run through the wetlands surrounding the local area. These wetlands are of importance to environmentalists. This is to preserve the biodiversity of the area and maintain their habitats. The company, KGL Constructors, has been granted permission to fill in 24 of the wetlands permanently in order to construct the road.

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University of Guelph
by aander05 on October 6, 2017
      In 2011 the mining and exploration company 266531 B.C. Ltd proposed new quarry development in the Fraser Valley. Today, the quarry proposal remains a heated debate with no agreement in sight (Britten, 2017). The provincial government and local municipalities in the region are the main opposing actors. Metro Vancouver staff and the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) strongly oppose development citing environmental and recreational concerns.

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University of Guelph
by emelchiorre on October 6, 2017
             An energy firm, IGas, has applied to release shale gas using fracking at a site on Ince Marshes in Cheshire (“Fracking plans for Cheshire”, 2017). This submission comes as the country’s first fracking application, and campaigners are extremely concerned. A representative from the company said the site was chosen because of its “proud industrial heritage”, however, much of Ince Marshes has been deemed a Site of Biological Importance, and therefore has planning protections. The Ince Marshes site is near many other energy projects and major industrial areas.

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University of Guelph
by Hunter on October 6, 2017
The article “Federal government failing to put climate plan into action, environmental watchdog finds” discusses the failure of the federal government to follow through with its plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Julie Gelfand, recently stated that the federal government has failed to implement emissions-reduction plans, and regulations to limit the risks of pollution, natural disasters, forest fires, and floods.

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University of Guelph
by ekendric on October 6, 2017
CBC news posted an article on Sept 13, 2017 about the decline of Canada's Wildlife. A report by the World Wildlife Fund showed that over half of Canada's vertebrate species populations are in decline. The declines are due to habitat loss, climate change, invasive species, pollution, over-harvesting, etc. Many species have been listed under Canada's Species at Risk Act however, these species populations are still declining despite the federal legislation protecting them.

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About the author

Associate Professor of Geography, University of Guelph.

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