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 samgoldhawk on October 6, 2017
This news article, published in the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), concerning the Global Symposium on Soil Organic Carbon discusses significance of improving soil management practises worldwide, and the role it plays in affecting climate change.  The main purpose of this news article is to shine some light on the critical role of managing terrestrial carbon sinks in controlling global warming.  As the average global temperature increases, it begins to thaw the permafrost layer which covers much of the northern hemisphere.  This thawing releases huge

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University of Guelph
by alexJscott11 on October 6, 2017
With all the seemingly apocalyptic natural disasters occurring everyday around the world, we sometimes forget to look in our own backyard – even when, in the case of the BC wildfires, nearly 400,000 hectares of our backyard has been destroyed as of August 16th, 2017. Fires have raged throughout the province and surrounding areas since March and have put infrastructure and human life at risk, as well as consumed vast quantities of natural resources we as a country depend on.  

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University of Guelph
by mritch01 on October 6, 2017
Over the past several years, AltaGas has been in the proposal and research stage of their Alton Gas project based out of Nova Scotia. The project involves hollowing out salt caverns for natural gas storage which would mean disposing of the salt brine from those caverns into the Shubenacadie river. A recent CBC article addresses the concerns of some opponents of the project. Indigenous communities in the area as well as protesters are now questioning the research done on the affects this project will have on their ecosystems.

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University of Guelph
by JaydenWlasichuk on October 6, 2017
Pipelines in Canada and the rest of North America have become a contentious topic over the last few years as advocates for renewable energy, Indigenous Peoples, and the environmental have been pushing back against government regulations and pipeline proposals and construction. The National Observer wrote “Environment Canada offers to cover costs of pipeline’s climate change research” in September 2017, outlining the research offer from Environment Canada.

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University of Guelph
by KyleF on October 6, 2017
The debate surrounding climate change is no longer an argument of whether or not it is happening, but is now rather a debate on the level of anthropogenic contribution it. However, while policy makers sit and argue with scientists about emission levels, positive feedback loops are set to amplify the effects of climate change via melting the permafrost. In August, The New York Times published an article by Henry Fountain about the current situation regarding the thawing of the permafrost in Alaska.

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University of Guelph
by RobinHood on October 6, 2017
A swatch of boreal forest near Grassy Narrows, Ont., is planned to be clear-cut. This is a practice that has been done for many years now and been contentious for much of that time. The issue that many are having, and have had, is with the mercury that will be released as the trees are cut down.

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University of Guelph
by rpiotrow on October 6, 2017
            The oil sands operations taking place in Alberta are subject to much criticism due to the resulting negative environmental impacts. In the article from CBC News titled “Future of the oilsands: the good, the bad and the ugly” the author discusses the predicted declining growth rate of the oil sands resulting from 3 main factors: the drastic fall of oil prices, considerable changes in the North American oil industry, and more strict environmental policies. However despite this the oil sands are still expected to produce 3 million barrels of oil per day by the year 2020.

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University of Guelph
by Fran on October 6, 2017
The buying and selling of ivory taken from rhino horns has always been a very popular activity throughout some countries. Recently in South Africa a site was approved that allowed for the auctioning of rhino horns on the internet. Authorities tried to withhold from issuing a permit but High Court had ended up siding with the organiser that goes by the name of John Hume. He is known as one of the biggest rhino famers in South Africa and he states that he regularly cuts off the rhinos’ horns and hopes to sell up to 264 horns during the auction.

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University of Guelph
by jeehopaik on October 6, 2017
The article “Klamath Basin Farmers Lose Long- Running Taking Suits”, by Michael Doyle, discusses the water resource management conflict in Klamath California, between Klamath Farmers and the US government. The purpose of this article is to discuss why the Bureau of Reclamation governed the denial of 336,000 acre- feet of water against Klamath farmers. The denial of water irrigation for farmers was an obligation of the government to service the three Klamath Basin tribe’s senior rights that hold the right to take fish from Klamath Project Waters, under the terms of an 1864 treaty.

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University of Guelph
by jeehopaik on October 6, 2017
The article “Klamath Basin Farmers Lose Long- Running Taking Suits”, by Michael Doyle, discusses the water resource management conflict in Klamath California, between Klamath Farmers and the US government. The purpose of this article is to discuss why the Bureau of Reclamation governed the denial of 336,000 acre- feet of water against Klamath farmers. The denial of water irrigation for farmers was an obligation of the government to service the three Klamath Basin tribe’s senior rights that hold the right to take fish from Klamath Project Waters, under the terms of an 1864 treaty.

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University of Guelph
by Jrodri10 on October 6, 2017
This year Virginia will elect a new Governor in which he will have to address several environmental, energy and economic concerns. Rising sea levels threaten the states economy of the Hampton Roads region as Norfolk, the worlds largest naval base holding a huge chunk of the states wealth, may become consumed by waters. Virginia could see a 5-foot sea level rise by the century’s end according to reports. A 3-foot increase could permanently engulf as many as 176,000 residents according to a 2012 report from the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission.

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University of Guelph
by Catriona on October 6, 2017
The article "`This is possible. We did it`: the week Portugal ran on renewables" is an arguement for the feasability of renewable energy as an energy source, using the event mentioned in the title, quotes from sources such as the president of an environmental NGO, a renewable energy company's managing director and the countries' energy secretary to present the artical's case, along with discussing Portugal's history with renewable energy to give context to how such an achievement became possible.

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University of Guelph
by josie on October 6, 2017
Nuclear energy is known as a clean energy without greenhouse gas emissions. Some people even consider if the only energy source capable of solving climate change. However, this environmentally-friendly energy has a huge risk for people’s lives and the environment in surrounding areas if an accident happens. An example from Japan shows how problems regarding a nuclear disaster are complicated and difficult to solve.

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University of Guelph
by deejay on October 6, 2017
The article “This season, Western Wildfires Are Close By and Running Free” by Kirk Johnson, posted in The New York Times on September 16th, 2017, discusses the issue with the severity of recent wildfires. Wildfires are an environmental issue that although is a huge issue, is not something that is talked about with great detail. The main issue though, is that the behavior of wildfires is becoming much more unpredictable, as well as that the wildfires that are occurring, are much more difficult to control (Johnson 2017).

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University of Guelph
by jelllybeans on October 6, 2017
 What is Ocean Acidification? Global warming is a term that most individuals are vaguely familiar with. However, the effects, and the rate that global warming is increasing, as well as how much It endangers the environment is not something that a large majority are aware of. For instance, due to global warming and the rapid increase of carbon emissions, the acidification of the ocean is dropping at an alarming rate. Issue of Ocean Acidification

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University of Guelph
by emmafox14 on October 6, 2017
Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest has become a large global environmental issue, destroying remote communities and permanently altering large ecosystems in the pursuit of profit and development. Recently, according to an article printed in the New York Times written by Ernesto Londono called Brazilian Judge Stymies Plan to Allow Mining in Amazon Region, a federal judge in Brazil temporarily halted a plan by the President Michel Temer to allow mining in a large area of the Amazon forest.

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University of Guelph
by Schieck on October 6, 2017
The purpose of this article was to highlight the problem, we as humans have created through our overproduction and land degrading ways. This problem has resulted in a drastic decline in wildlife (especially those who live in lakes/rivers) since 1970 due to the destruction and degradation of their homes as a result of over production and over consumption in of our culture.

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University of Guelph
by Lizbeth on October 6, 2017
The Toronto Star article TransCanada ends bid to build Energy East pipeline after ‘careful review of changed circumstances’ by Alex Ballingall discusses TransCanada’s recent decision to cancel its proposal for the Energy East pipeline and the various perspectives on the decision. The project was proposed in 2014 and would have been a 4,500km pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to refineries in Quebec and New Brunswick, carrying 1.1 billion barrels of crude oil every day and costing $15.7 billion to build.

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University of Guelph
by steinr on October 6, 2017
In this article by Gail Harding on the CBC News website, researchers at the University of New Brunswick are using a certain species of fish- the slimy sculpin- in order to monitor the health of ecosystems in New Brunswick’s waterways. Michelle Gray- the professor in charge of the project- says that the slimy sculpin is an excellent organism to use for monitoring the environment, as it is fairly stationary and therefore will provide an appropriate temporal scale to the data collected in the study.

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University of Guelph
by BrentES on October 6, 2017
A Greener Approach to E-waste Disposal

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About the author

Associate Professor of Geography, University of Guelph.

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