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 mszatkow on November 8, 2017
CBC News author Margo McDiarmid highlights errors in the current environmental assessment process in Canada, while providing suggestions for better policy implementation in Short timelines for environmental assessments not working, says expert panel. An example used is how pipeline development can occur, even with clear opposition – in this instance, a pipeline could be negatively affecting water quality. McDiarmid refers to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, Enbridge, Indigenous communities, and Nature Canada’s Stephen Hazell to help stress the importance of the issue.

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University of Guelph
by Jake M on November 8, 2017
Protection of natural environments, species and resources is becoming a main focus in Canadian policy making, much more than in previous years. The article, “Canada to Double Protected Areas” by Andrea Gunn of The Chronicle Herald takes a detailed look into the actions being done by governing bodies of Canada to save aquatic environments. Gunn states the protection of marine systems is gradually gaining more importance at all levels of government as Canada tries to increase the percentage of protected marine and coastal areas to ten percent by the year 2020.

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University of Guelph
by ar3210 on November 8, 2017
People often say that dogs are man’s best friend. I know that, for me, this saying is all too true; I don’t know what I would do without my dogs. So when pollution has direct impacts on our loveable canine companions, that is a sign that something must be done. The article I chose is called “The blue dogs of Mumbai: industrial waste blamed for colourful canines” by the Guardian authors.

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University of Guelph
by skeyes on November 8, 2017
            In 2015 the First Nations Aamjiwnaang group marched as climate activists in a journey known as a ‘Toxic Tour’ through Sarnia’s Chemical Valley that houses over 40% of Canada’s chemical industry. The valley has approximately 60 oil refineries and factories, packed into an industrial strip along the St. Clair River. The river is directly connected to the Aamjiwnaang lands, with the storage tanks and oil terminals being viewed from this once prosperous area.  The water is so contaminated surrounding the First Nations communities, that they are prohibited to touch it.  

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University of Guelph
by hynesm on November 8, 2017
One of the most significant issues in environmental management is meeting the needs of everyone involved. While some management decisions may seem advantageous in terms of environmental sustainability, they may not be desirable for industries and individuals benefiting from this said resource. As such, this is the current case on the eastern coast of the United States where the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is contemplating changes in how menhaden is currently being managed.

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University of Guelph
by Maggie on November 7, 2017
     In the wake of climate change and declining Arctic sea ice, the federal government has entered a partnership with the Inuit of Labrador to develop a marine management plan which will govern the first Indigenous protected area in Canada.  The plan will incorporate traditional knowledge to protect heritage and cultural sites in the Arctic landscape and address environmental concerns related to water quality and wildlife.

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University of Guelph
by cscott18 on November 7, 2017
Due to many human induced factors, we are beginning to see the climatic changes of global warming. As it warms the water, shallow regions are affected heavily due to a lesser volume and therefore the highly diverse reef ecosystems must slowly adapt to these new conditions. A recent study and article from the University of Tasmania’s Marine Institute illustrates the present distribution of species in shallow waters and the changes they are seeing.

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University of Guelph
by Lucas Salameh on November 7, 2017
Historically, there has always been tension between governments and aboriginal communities. Often this is the result of neglect on the part of the former. In the case of both the implementation and cancellation of the CAST programs questionable attempt at stocking adult salmon into the tributaries of the Miramichi River, a staple for the provincial Mi’kmaq communities, this neglect is evident. In CBC’s article by Connell Smith, the abundant issues of this program are outlined.

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University of Guelph
by aander05 on November 6, 2017
     Mackerel is a flourishing fish species that made its home in Iceland in the early 2000’s (MSC, 2017). An article posted on October 31, 2017 by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) stated that Iceland is the latest country to obtain MSC certification as a sustainabley managed mackerel fishery. Assessments by the independent certifiers SAI Global were conducted to ensure sustainability in the fishery. Mackerel continues to increase in popularity, and in 2016 the total catch in Iceland was 170,516 tonnes (MSC, 2017).

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University of Guelph
by emmafox14 on November 6, 2017
One of the main global environmental issues arising out of the modern world is plastic. According to an article written by Matthew Taylor for The Guardian, called Plastic Pollution Risks 'Near Permanent Contamination of Natural Environment’, a recent study showed the total amount of plastic produced as of this year is equivalent in weight to one billion elephants, and it will last for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years. This study, led by Roland Geyer, U.S.

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University of Guelph
by pmoseley on November 5, 2017
In July of this year, the UK government were forced by the High Court to produce a new air quality plan to tackle pollution, however the measures set out were widely criticized for not going far enough. Documented in the article cited, environmental law group ClientEarth is threatening to take the government to court again as a result. They are demanding a new set of measures in the form of a legal letter to Environment Secretary Michael Gove (known as a ‘letter before action’) which acts as a last request of sorts.

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University of Guelph
by ajalo on November 3, 2017
Beavers may be an iconic symbol of Canada, though the rodent is not always welcome. Due to higher levels of rain, there have been an increased number of beaver dams appearing in the Greater Sudbury area (Samson, 2017). Samantha Samson (2017) reports that home owners and industries are experiencing increased flooding due to the accidental breaking of the beaver dams. This has created a positive feedback loop of increased flooding, as the increase in rain brings more beavers, their dams break as the amount of rain increases.

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University of Guelph
by edias on October 20, 2017
This isn’t the first time, and certainly won’t be the last time that Indigenous rights are downplayed by large industries. In recent conflict between Indigenous peoples and governments and oil companies, stands the Secwepemc Nation of central British Columbia (B.C.) in one corner and the federal government and Kinder Morgan, a large energy infrastructure company in North America, in the other. The Indigenous people have the support of the recently elected NDP party of B.C., along with other Indigenous communities located in B.C.

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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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Associate Professor of Geography, University of Guelph.


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