Management of the Biophysical Environment - 2016

About this class

This course examines the role of the state in environmental issues. We examine the rationales, challenges and pitfalls inherent in state-led resource management. Students will be blogging on media coverage of important environmental issues throughout the course of the semester.

University of Guelph
by rclarke on November 24, 2016
Climate change is a problem that is facing countries all over the world. The earth is warming at an alarming rate as a result of increased levels of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) being emitted into the atmosphere from human activities. The article discusses the fact that in Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has issued an ultimatum to the provinces, announcing his government’s plan to set a minimum carbon tax. This angered the premiers of several provinces and territories.

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University of Guelph
by clemesur on November 24, 2016
An Article I came across really caught my attention, 'Poor management' leading to environmental issues at Nunavut's Baffinland mine, says regulator, by John Van Dusen of CBC news (November 8, 2016). In the article, John Van Dusen raises concerns regarding Baffinland’s environmental and waste management at the Mary River iron mine. The Baffinland iron mine in Mary River is located on north Baffin Island, approximately 160 kilometres southwest of Pond Inlet, Nunavut.

239 | 0 | 0
University of Guelph
by corrigaj on November 24, 2016
The news article I will be discussing was recently published by Global News and is titled “Bay of Fundy tidal turbine now powering 500 Nova Scotia homes”. The purpose of this article is to discuss a major advancement in the area of marine renewable energy in Eastern Canada with the instalment of North America’s first tidal turbine as part of the larger Cape Sharp Tidal project. As we all know, human’s dependence on fossil fuel for their energy and power needs is one of the main contributors to today’s climate problems.

570 | 1 | 0
University of Guelph
by HubbleSpace on November 23, 2016
Marine and arctic ecosystems are some of the most fragile ecosystems in the world. So, when 24 countries and the European Union declared Antarctica’s Ross Sea as the world’s largest marine protected area (MPA) in October of this year, many people rejoiced (McGrath, 2016). The 1.57 sq km (600,000 sq miles) area is home to several species including Adelie penguins, minke whales and large amounts of krill (McGrath, 2016). The Ross Sea is also an important source of nutrients for the world as deep water upwelling and ocean currents supply the globe with nutrients (McGrath, 2016).

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University of Guelph
by Mivany on November 23, 2016
Muskrat Falls is infamous for the contention it spawned between the government and a large number of indigenous communities in Labrador. An article in the Independent, a St. John’s based newspaper, set the scene by interviewing NunatuKavut Elder Jim Learning and riverkeeper Eldred Davis. Muskrat Falls is a dam project that was started by a Newfoundland energy corporation called Nalcor. The project was established in the traditional territory of the Innu Nation, Inuit of Nunatsiavut, and the Inuit of Nunatukavut (Brake, 2016).

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University of Guelph
by Jonah Steer on November 23, 2016
Fishing can definitely rack up some charges! The article discussed in this post explains a situation from earlier this week in which a BC fisherman was fined $20,000 for illegally selling his catch of spot prawns. He caught his prawns under his First Nations Food, Social, and Ceremonial licence, which does not permit the selling of ones catch. He had illegally harvested his prawns and sold them on the commercial market, which is most definitely not allowed with the FSC licence he possessed.

514 | 1 | 0
University of Guelph
by mckaylalennox on November 23, 2016
     There is a new plan to phase out coal-powdered electricity by 2030, making Canada a leader in green energy. Regardless of the benefits striking someone as being insignificant, in the long term every single act of environmental management will in fact be worth it. In order to make a critical positive change, society must first recognize that it will not be easy. Meaning that luxury and convenience must be set aside for the sake of future generations.

273 | 0 | 0
University of Guelph
by ryanpayn3 on November 23, 2016
It’s been talked about for decades, and many people have been skeptical about its development. Tidal energy is the newest, and most modern form of renewable energy in Canada. Environmental degradation and greenhouse gas emissions have troubled Canada for quite some time and finding a new source of clean energy, that does not heighten the effects of climate change proves to be difficult. However, this initiative puts Canada in the lead for the search of renewable and clean energy.

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University of Guelph
by fhalbert on November 23, 2016
Environmental Impacts of Food Waste: Blog #2    People are often taught “don’t let your eyes be bigger than you stomach,” in order to prevent wasting food. More often than not, the reason people do not want to waste food is because they feel that if they waste food products then they are essentially wasting money. But how many people are concerned about their food consumption form an environmental perspective? The environmental impacts caused by food waste are increasing rapidly and are becoming more and more of a concern in Canada.

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University of Guelph
by ilesterm on November 22, 2016
For this second blog post, I chose a short documentary by VICE INTL on the world of illegal blast-fishing in Montenegro, explaining the social, economic and environmental causes and effects of an undeniably destructive trade. In spite of this fact, it is perfectly understandable why fishermen resort to blast-fishing methods. In an interview with an anonymous blast-fisherman, or nobelite, they stated that using just 3-4 blast caps (with 50-60g of dynamite each) secures about 300-400 kilos of fish and a profit of €1500.

597 | 1 | 0
University of Guelph
by Jackie-Ray on November 22, 2016
The article from the Guardian draws attention to the challenges of forest management within the Amazon in relation to climate change. Indigenous land rights are essential to push efforts of reducing deforestation. Climate change is linked to deforestation. The countries of South America that cross borders with the Amazon forest have claimed to eliminate deforestation rates. Countries including Peru, Brazil or Bolivia are committed to the Paris Accord and plan to take action in time for COP 20 targets.

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University of Guelph
by hmac on November 21, 2016
Fracking is a highly controversial topic in the UK and a contemporary example of resource conflict between energy companies, governments and local communities.

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University of Guelph
by Canoer on November 21, 2016
The article “Aboriginal Input On Pipeline Is Key To Better Relations: Study” refers to the importance of the engagement of Canada’s indigenous people in conjunction with critical resource project assessments such as the high-profile conflict of the pipeline.  There has been a lot of debate regarding the pipeline project in Alberta and the true voices and opinions of the First Nations have not been heard regarding their land.

390 | 1 | 0
University of Guelph
by harrietminc on November 21, 2016
In an ever growing consumerist market, environmentalists continue to scramble towards a glimmering notion that can assist in saving our planet: sustainability. Canada is one of the leading producers of timber in the world, but in an economy that is always demanding more production, it can be difficult to draw the line before we take too much.

338 | 0 | 0
University of Guelph
by seawalker on November 14, 2016
                The article ‘US tribes work with scientists against climate change’ (published in Al Jazeera) describes an initiative in the South-Central United States that has brought together Native American communities and climate scientists in the race for adaptation to increasing uncertainty in local weather patterns due to global climate change.

903 | 3 | 0
University of Guelph
by Leeann on November 13, 2016
In the article ‘Canada not ready for climate change’, the writer cautions readers on the effect extreme climate events, such as flooding and droughts, can have on infrastructure. He proceeds to say that this lack of preparedness could be detrimental if we don’t act immediately.  Also, the investment required for building resilience is less compared to the repairs needed if damage took place so there is little excuse for not adapting. However, there needs to be a larger commitment on behalf of the state, which often gets overlooked in favour of commercial buildings and business.

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University of Guelph
by natgarrod on November 7, 2016
Article: http://www.ctvnews.ca/sci-tech/paris-climate-agreement-officially-becomes-international-law-1.3145678  

903 | 3 | 0
University of Guelph
by MarcusJoseph on November 5, 2016
As one of the strongest hurricanes since 2007 approached the Caribbean islands of Haiti and Jamaica, Hurricane Matthew caused chaos and destruction on the civilians living there.

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by josh_cifelli5817 on October 16, 2016
SUNY Genesee Community Colllege
Does the wage gap exist? Yes but not at the 79 cents per every man’s dollar like people keep quoting, its actually 93 cents per every man’s dollar.

2,372 | 9 | 2
by ebentley on October 14, 2016
SUNY Genesee Community Colllege
PTSD is mental disorder which many Americans may never come in contact with. For someone in the military though, it’s very possible that if they go into war they may come out with PTSD. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder wasn’t put into the APA until 1980, so what would happen to a military veteran before 1980 who would be experiencing PTSD? Well they would be sent home to cope with their disorder alone. Do I think this was a good idea? Of course not, because often times the veteran would end up taking his own life due to the mental disorder.

2,646 | 10 | 1
by ebentley on October 14, 2016
SUNY Genesee Community Colllege
Sex and gender are often thought as two categories that are dependent of each other. In all reality though, sex and gender can have two sperately different answers that don't relate. In the article " BEARDS AND BODIES Doing Sex in a Gendered World" by Raine Dozier, he quotes from Lorber saying "Talking about gender for most people is equivelent of fish talking about water" meaning that gender is not a topic most people talk about. Today's society has brought about new relationships, allowing people to speak and feel free about their gender identity.

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by spmmps on October 14, 2016
SUNY Genesee Community Colllege
It is too often that people say things like, “Oh, that’s a man’s job” or “That is a woman’s job”. How did these made up “rules” allow people to become discriminated by gender? Why should anyone limit themselves, their talents or their passions because of societal “gender rules” that have been functioning for years. I know personally what it is like to be harassed by people because of my job and my gender. I work for my father in our family business, which is auto and heavy machinery repairs, which in turn makes me a mechanic.

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by BeckyGay1 on October 14, 2016
SUNY Genesee Community Colllege
          This year has seen its fair share of controversy and hate. Gender equality is a topic that keeps coming up and seems to center on women most of the time. More specifically, society tends to see women as generally weaker and more fragile than men. Women are even discriminated in the work place. A woman, who works at the same place and does the same job as a man, will be payed less than the man despite the fact that both of them have the same job. Women are also seen as easy targets for sexual harassment in the work place.

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by Navy Girl on October 14, 2016
SUNY Genesee Community Colllege
     Why is it that girls are most often considered and encouraged to be like flower petals—beautiful and artsy—instead of stems where complexity and science is a beauty of its own? Why is there a low ratio of girls to guys in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields?

2,485 | 14 | 0
by JacobT on October 14, 2016
SUNY Genesee Community Colllege
Recently there seems to be an increase in women fearing that their gender will have a negative direct effect on the possibilities of getting a career, or that career ever advancing, and a fear that their wages will be lower simply because they are women. There is also a fear that because they are women, they have slim pickings for jobs they can actually pick. This is obviously a huge problem.

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by Emule on October 13, 2016
SUNY Genesee Community Colllege
While the wage gap is a widely controversial topic, it does indeed exist. However, what most people do not realize is that this wage gap might be in place for a good reason. The United States percentage as a whole says that on average women get around 80% of the pay that men receive annually. That means if a man is making $100,000 annually, that on average depending on the state, a woman would make around $80,000 doing the exact same job with the exact same qualifications.

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by sconti on October 12, 2016
SUNY Genesee Community Colllege
As a child, boys and girls would always pick on the opposite sex about who was better. Little did we know that it was all based on the numbers of men and women that were in the world. Since 1960, men have outnumbered women in the world. Which means that for every 100 women there are 101.8 men. However, a recent map from the Pew Research Center shows there is an equal amount of men to women. Based on the map, Latvia, Lithuania, Armenia, Belarus, Russia, Ukraine and Estonia are several countries that have the largest female population.

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3 years 7 months ago

Hi josh_cifelli5817,

Your title really drew me in because of my strong interest in cars and how autonomous cars are becoming the future for cars. Although I personally have not done much research on this new feature in future cars. I found your article interesting because I personally didn’t even consider weather being an issue of a self driving car but I can now understand how its poses a threat to other drivers on the road if it can’t identify the road itself. It’s interesting to me how technology for cars has come so far but personally it appears that it will not be safe to everyone. I think technology has come far but I do not believe that it will ever come far enough for it to be completely safe for self driving cars without the driver paying attention to the road. This is because there are so many outside factors that can happen and so many factors that the self-driving car would need to consider. Also additionally adding to the issue of weather… what if the weather or something breaks a sensor on a car? So much programming would need to be put into the car and if one thing broke or went wrong someone’s life could be at risk. If people have to stay awake behind autopilot driving now don’t you think it would just be easiest for the person behind the wheel to just drive it and control the vehicle on their own? I too agree that I would save so much time if a self driving car existed because I could just do work in the vehicle during my travels. Lastly, I also thought about how humans react on roads with their emotions sometimes and wouldn’t necessarily know that they are being aggressive to a driver who has their auto-pilot driving on. I think for autonomous driving to possibly even be safe maybe everyone would need an autonomous vehicle and maybe all the vehicles could communicate with each other so if a kid jumped out on the road maybe all the cars would respond together to avoid an accident with the child and with other vehicles. Do you personally really think there is going to be a way for autonomous cars to self-drive without the passenger paying attention to the road at all with the constantly changing factors on the roads outside of the vehicles control?
Thanks for this great post! I really enjoyed the read and it has now got me thinking
about how designers can make autonomous cars safe!

3 years 7 months ago

Hi OldElPaso_MuchoFunTonight

I really enjoyed your post. This is a topic that isn't talked about very much so I liked that you chose to write about it. I think that you really did a good job mentioning the potential consequences of Nestle continuing to draw water from the aquifer. I understand that the Nestle plant employs many people so I don't think that we should try to remove the plant, but I do think that there should be a cap on how much water they can withdraw and there should be an increase in price for what they withdraw because $3.71/ million litres is absolutely ridiculous.

3 years 7 months ago

Hello there,

Thank you for the insightful analysis of the relationship between young children and our gender-polarized culture. I first saw this video a few weeks ago and I was quite surprised at how aware eight-year-old Daisy Edmonds was of the differences between products that are produced to appeal to young girls and those that are designed to appeal to young boys. However, when I think critically about it, it makes perfect sense! Children are not born with preconceived notions of what clothes girls should wear or which toys boys should play with. Rather, children are influenced by the ideas that they are exposed to and grow up to believe that boys and girls should act in certain distinctive ways and carry separate values. In that context, it is no surprise that Miss Edmonds is able to detect the inequalities between boys’ and girls’ clothing- she is young and the inequality has not yet become normalized in the mind. Meanwhile, adults see each of the two very separate categories of clothing as inherently appealing to boys, or to girls, but not both. She is brave to question the fact that women are expected to conform to a set of expectations and I am glad that her mother is accepting of whichever clothes she decides to wear.
Do you have any advice about how parents should explain gender inequality at such a young age?

All the best!

3 years 7 months ago

Great post Kevin!
Although it is very sad to continually pipelines being proposed through these communities and threatening their livelihood, I think that the courts overturning this approval is a good step in the right direction as this will set an example for future cases. I like how mentioned the value-based conflict found in this situation but I think it is also worth to mention the behavioral conflict at play here that demonstrates a lack of trust in government from the First Nation communities. I wonder if these pipelines would even be proposed if they happened to pass through a privileged neighborhood?

3 years 7 months ago

Hi Samantha,
I love the article you chose because I’m from Alberta and frequently visit the National Parks closest to me. Your title also really drew me in, it’s so clever! As an Albertan, I love to promote Alberta’s parks in hope that it they will inspire others to care about their impact on the environment and preservation of truly wild places. However, the free admission in 2017 has me concerned about a decline in conservation efforts funded by admission revenues. Every year, admission fees bring in $60 million dollars in revenue that helps to protect the natural features and wildlife of the parks. The combination of losing these funds with increased traffic has the potential to lead to environmental degradation of important park aspects. On any given day in the summer, Lake Louise and the Banff are over run by tourists which makes me skeptical to believe that Parks Canada needs to increase the number of tourists entering the parks. However, I could be wrong because that is just my perspective based on my own experiences. It will be interesting to see if I notice an increase in tourists when I head to the mountains this summer.

3 years 7 months ago

I really enjoyed reading your post! The title caught my eye because this is a question I have asked myself as well. I would hope that Parks Canada is more concerned about conservation than cash, but as you pointed out, it is run more like a business. Before taking this class I was not aware that it even has a CEO! When you wrote "The future of the park will be shaped depending if we see it as important for its incoming-generating capability as a tourist attraction versus its ecological importance", it really made me think about when I lived in Banff National Park. When I first arrived in May 2015 there were a few tourists and the town felt more like a town, where people would ski all day then socialize at night. Or many spent the days hiking the mountains and at this time I didn't really feel like I was in a Park but the idea of nature and preservation were still important. Once the summer months hit it was like a completely different town. The streets were absolutely packed with tourists, tour busses were on a constant schedule bringing hoards of people in and out every day. The mountain behind my house had a gondola to bring people to the top (those who didn't want to, or couldn't hike the trail) and it ran nonstop all summer long. At this point I wondered, do these people care about ecological conservation? Does the National Park system care about conservation or are they happy to keep building these tourist attractions and expanding the town because they make a good profit off of it?

I am wondering what you think about the Native peoples who have been displaced because of the National Park system and if they could have an impact on conservation? Or if tourists and even Parks Canada is too far removed from realizing that many of these places were their traditional lands. While I lived in Banff there were a few "native" souvenir shops and a museum of native art. Not surprisingly this museum was one of the least visited attractions in the entire town. Other than that, prevalence of aboriginal peoples in Banff was almost non-existent.
Thanks for the post, it was an interesting read, and I agree that conservation should come before generating income.

3 years 7 months ago

Nice post, I also wrote a post about Donald Trump, because it is such a relevant topic.

Trump panders to emotion, instead of using rational arguments. Trump is a demagogue. This is how he won, he has no basis, but he looks like a good option to middle class white America. This is why he can deny climate change, and say it is a hoax created by China (read 'China' in Trump's voice). This is why he is gutting the EPA, and putting a climate change denying economist in charge. This is why he is going to cut funding to NASA's earth science projects, which gives us valuable earth imagery (which helps us evaluate where valuable natural resources may be). He says things that make him look good even though they may not be true. Think about things like the recent developments with Carrier in Indiana, where Trump wanted to save 1300 American jobs from going to Mexico. However, Carrier is still sending 1300 jobs to Mexico, and now Indiana taxpayers are on the hook for $7 million to pay for tax breaks that Carrier receives for keeping some jobs in the US. Oh, and Carrier made a $7.6 billion profit last year.

Trump can ignore facts, and his followers will listen because he hits them right in the emotions. We have never seen the likes of a 'Donald Trump' in such power before. Obviously we have seen dictators before, but we have never seen such an unqualified person leading the largest economy in the world.

Fun interesting articles where I get my info, also for a good laugh browse through his Twitter:

@realDonaldTrump

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/22/nasa-earth-donald-tr...

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/01/trumps-carrier-speech-absolutely-chilling...

http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/trump-presidency-doesn-t-change-need-for-...

3 years 7 months ago

Hello OldElPaso_MuchoFunTonight

First off I would like to applaud you for you alias it is simply amazing.

Now to the subject at hand, I appreciate that you took the time to address an issue that hits close to home. Given that this effect the quality of the water we all consume I think it is very important that we gain an understanding of what is going on around us.That being said I also disagree with all the commotion that is being stirred up in respect to Nestle and their contracts. what people have to take into account is the economic standing having Nestle present has.The packing facility generates lots of jobs and provides a service to the people. Therefore, even though this has negative environmental outcomes it can be argued that the social/economic outcomes are more beneficial.

3 years 7 months ago

Hi mcaponci,

Before I read your post here, I had this belief that nuclear power was still in the development stages and that there would be many more advancements that could make this a viable solution for the future. But then I realised that this may not be entirely true. Like you said, there are other alternative sources that are becoming viable due to their price reductions and how they have a low amount of danger if a mishap were to occur. Even though the risks of a nuclear meltdown could be reduced by advancements, the impact that a meltdown has on the earth would still be catastrophic, whereas if a wind turbine were to fail it would result in a broken turbine. Overall, I found your article to be well informed and the argument to be sound. However, I think that the structure of your writing could be improved. When I started to read your last paragraph, I just felt like you were repeating yourself and this lead me to be confused. I think that in the future you should hint that your next words will be a summary of the paper. You could use the words ‘In conclusion, ...’ or In summary, …’, for example. Other than that, you write a good post!

3 years 7 months ago

Hey WaterElement! Awesome post! I have seen Tesla's development in other area's in the news but I have not read any news reviews which include comments - so thank you for facilitating this discussion. Tesla is one of my favourite companies right now in terms of finding green energy alternatives and solutions to current and old methods of energy production from fossil-fuels. I really like how you mentioned that it was potentially the state's fault for the failure of SolarCity and how they have a lot of vested interest in Oil company's. With the new government moving in in the United States it will be very interesting to see where all of the effort in green technologies will end up.

This article is important to me as I am very interested in discovering new, accessible way's to become less reliant on fossil fuels for energy use on a small scale. By small scale I mean that I am interested in trying to get individual building's like homes more self-sufficient. Tesla's partnering with SolarCity is one step in this direction. They have been able to produce shingles that look quite attractive in my opinion, that are very strong and resistant to stress, that are actually SOLAR PANELS!! It is a very cool concept and fit's in with Tesla's whole green mantra they have been showcasing in recent years. I have attached a link for your interest which may help you understand exactly what I mean when I talk about the shingles. Thanks again for your great post.

http://www.treehugger.com/energy-policy/tesla-introduces-gorgeous-new-so...

SUNY Genesee Community Colllege

SUNY Brockport

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About the author

Associate Professor of Geography, University of Guelph.

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