Each year, in the form of dissertations, theses, major papers and major projects, graduate students in the Faculty of Environmental Studies produce some of the best and most original scholarship within the York University community. The purpose of the Outstanding Graduate Student Paper Series is to recognize exceptional MES major papers and projects and to make them available to a broader readership (all dissertations are available from the National Archives of Canada).
The topics of the papers published through the series vary as widely as the research interests of the Faculty’s graduate students. The papers address many of the issues typically associated with the natural environment, such as conservation, pollution and climate change, but also focus on other issues affecting or affected by the environment, such as health, politics, economics, planning and design, ethics, culture and technology. All of the works strive to reveal the complexity underlying and linking social and environmental problems and solutions. In past years, topics have included regional-development planning in the Czech Republic, idealizations of the female body in writing and photography, citizenship and the democratic process, First Nations story telling and political and environmental discourse, the ethics of disrupting and restoring nature, heritage conservation and interpretation, the biotechnology industry in global environmental politics, and environmental decline and disaster as the basis of refugee status.
Since 2000, the series has been published electronically. Papers from the 1999 series or earlier are still available as separately published works through the Faculty’s publications office. For copies, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Power, Truth, and Fossil Fuels: The Inuit community of Clyde River’s struggle against the Arctic resource rush
By: Ava LIghtbody (2015)Vol.20 No. 1 6 ISSN 1702-3548 (online)
The 21st century has seen the world fix its eyes upon the fossil fuel and mineral resources of the Arctic. The Canadian government has embraced neoliberal policy in its efforts to draw investment to the region, offering low royalty rates, lenient regulatory regimes, and limited powers for northern governments. The approach has not necessarily sat well with Inuit, the Indigenous peoples of the Canadian Arctic. A 450-year old history of extractive industry has left them on the losing side of a core-periphery relationship with the global capitalist economy, and many now seek liberation from economic and political subordination. Inuit therefore hope to control extraction in order to a strike a balance with other priorities, including subsistence practices and protection for their distinct cultural identity. The fight to assert Inuitself-determination in the face of the oncoming resource rush is perhaps nowhere clearer than in the resistance of the tiny Baffin Island hamlet of Clyde River to a proposed offshore oil exploration project in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait. During the four year environmental assessment and public consultation process headed by the National Energy Board, Canada’s arms-length federal energy regulator, opposition grew as Inuit became convinced that the process was meaningless, that their input was irrelevant, and that there would be no significant regional benefit. Nonetheless, the NEB celebrated the level of public participation that had occurred and approved the project in June of 2014 (NEB 2014). Examined as part of a chain of boom and bust cycles, facilitated in part by government policies that sought to sedentarize Inuit, the Clyde River case represents an example of the mechanisms through which Indigenous peoples are subordinated as their lands are sought for the purposes of resource extraction (Bonesteel 2006; QIA 2010). Such processes ultimately generate dependency on the market economy and ensure that economic surplus flows out the region (Amin 1976; Harvey 2005; Hodgkins 2009; Frank 1966; Wallerstein 2004). According to Marxist theory, imperial trade relationships are a strategy to stave off the crises of overproduction that capitalism is structurally bound to produce (Harvey 2005; Marx 1867). However, the Clyde River case and its historical context suggest that the exercise of power in these processes transcends pre-meditated strategies intended to uphold the capitalist system. Foucauldian criticisms of Marxism assert that power does not belong to the elite, but is an active force that circulates throughout society through the concept of “truth” (1980). Power relations arise in the discursive practices through which we police what can be considered true, and who can be considered a truth-speaker. Drawing upon this theory, the formation and maintenance of the Arctic as an extractive periphery in cases like Clyde River’s are explored through the operation of power as truth, within which the elite agenda is but one element. Current environmental assessment and consultation processes inevitablyreproduce these power relations, and are therefore not adequate to ensure Inuit are able to temper the effects of extraction or to protect their way of life.
Accumulation, Poverty and Dispossession : Unequal Distribution of Mining Benefits and the Impact of Chirano Gold on Local Communities in Ghana
By: Stephen Aboagye (2015)Vol. 21 No. 3 ISSN 1702-3548(online)
Gold mining in Ghana has gained unprecedented global attention and attraction. At the moment, Ghana is Africa’s second leading producer of gold and ranks tenth in the world. The sector is the country’s leading foreign exchange earner, and continues to play a key role in the country’s socio-economic development. While the government of Ghana and other financial institutions defend the mining sector as a viable vehicle for facilitating economic growth in Ghana, concerns are raised about its negative environmental impacts and adverse problems affecting mining communities. This paper is grounded in a specific socio-political and cultural context through a case study of Chirano Gold Mines Limited (CGML) that explores the impact of both large scale and artisanal small-scale mining on the livelihoods of local communities, power relational inequality, and the mechanisms that foster and facilitate it. The study draws from the perspective of theory of International Political Economy (IPE) particularly the discourse of accumulation bydispossession to critically analyze the specific research questions. Generally in mineral economies, it is the national economy that benefits and welcomes increases in national revenues in the form of foreign direct investment and taxes, which are largely unequally distributed, with local communitiesshouldering the majority of adverse social and environmental risks. This enormous relational inequality and distribution of benefits in the mining area is an outcome of firms seeking to protect their interests at the expense of the local community. Findings from the study indicate that these interests are not necessarily in line with those of the impacted communities, nor concerned with protecting the environment. I argue that equitable distribution of benefits through certain established frameworks, such as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs and objectives and compensation injected into the community, largely serve the needs and goals of a minority group in impacted communities, given internal struggles among residents to enhance their livelihoods and ongoing power relations and inequality in the community.
Renewable Energy Mobility: Advancing Municipal Energy Planning – A Case Study of the Solar Photovoltaic Electric Vehicle Charging Station Structure at York University, Toronto
By: Mustafa Nazari (2015)Vol.20 No. 15 ISSN 1702-3548 (online)
As the urban population soars to 86 per cent in Ontario, municipalities will face increased pressure to plan for energy as it is intrinsically linked to the urban infrastructure. The widespread deployment of renewable energy is severely limited by the provincial governments in Canada. This project report starts by discussing the role of municipalities in energy planning in Ontario. The report will mainly focus on my experiences on designing and implementing a modular solar photovoltaic (PV) charging station structure for electric vehicles at Keele Campus, York University. Mainly, this report outlines the steps involved in developing a 6.84 kW solar PV structure with local industry partners. It covers the design criteria established to maintain key aspect and goals of the Renewable Energy Mobility (REM) project. The report ends with discussions and concluding remarks regarding the development, design, installation, policy and energy structure implications of the REM project.
Justice on the Rocks: (Re)Writing People and Place in Banff National Park
By: Adam Linnard (2015)Vol. 21 No. 5 ISSN 1702-3548(online)
Banff National Park is most commonly and powerfully representedas a place intended for wealthy tourists to experience leisure and for “all Canadians” to encounter “the essence of Canada,” representations that emphasize transience, leisure, safety and abstract notions of nature and nation. These institutional narratives of place validate management decisions that alienate residents and motivate them to assert special claims to belonging that distinguish between the local who belongs and those who are out of place. My first argument, developed through a survey of creative non-fiction and fiction literature of the Rocky Mountain Parks, is that literature has been a key sight forarticulating such claims and setting such distinctions, as evident in recurrent emphasis on permanence, work, risk and place-based knowledge. Supported by the work of scholars and activists in environmental justice and the related fields of critical race, gender, queer, disability and Indigenous studies, my second argument is that the dominant narratives of Rocky Mountain literature, while resisting institutional narratives and promoting Banff National Park as a co-creation of more-than-human assemblage, inscribe a highly privileged framework for belonging. Such a framework naturalizes white, masculine, heterosexual and able bodies through their engagement with rugged wilderness landscapes and other-than-human animals while negating, excluding or marginalizing those who do not conform. This paper goes on to present a series of Banff National Park stories, derived from walking interviews and textual research, that historicize, politicize and otherwise confound naturalized normativity without abandoning efforts to narrate more-than-human co-creation of Banff National Park spaces. These stories are told in two sections – one which takes place in the wilderness setting of Saskatchewan River Crossing and the other within the urban Banff town site – and attempt to disseminate experiences of making a home in theparticular social and environmental landscapes of Banff National Park that are complicated by intersections of race, gender, sexuality, nationalism,capitalism, religion, Indigeneity and class. This paper argues that those resisting institutional processes of exclusion in Banff National Park must interrogate their own privilege if they hope to promote anything approaching environmental justice in the Canadian Rockies, while simultaneously attempting to model new narratives by engaging with and privileging a variety of claims to place that destabilize my own, including stories of Indigenous displacement, imprisoned labour, gender queer performance and racialized migrant labour.
Cultivating Critical Learning: Critical Food Pedagogy in FoodShare’s School Grown Program
By: Cassie Wever (2015)Vol.20 No. 1 7 ISSN 1702-3548 (online)
There are numerous problems created by the industrial food system. These include redefining the relationship between eaters and their food as one between a consumer and a product, and the concomitant consumer deskilling and lack of knowledge around all aspects of food production; impacts to human and ecological health; struggles for farmers; a loss of culture and sense of place; numerous forms of injustice; and the gross misuse of waste as an industrial output, rather than an ecological input. Academics, activists, not for profit organizations, and laypeople often state that better education around food can help to solve these issues, at least in part. However, this raises questions around the purpose, praxis, and impacts of food education, and its role in change: Can food education programs teach a critical perspective on the food system? Or do they reinforce dominant paradigms around food while teaching only particular aspects of food literacy? This paper seeks todetermine what knowledge and skills students gain in FoodShare’s School Grown program, a secondary school market garden-based food and employment education program. It then asks whether the knowledge and skills gained foster acritical/emancipatory perspective or learning on the food system. It uses a case-study approach relying most heavily on interviews with the program coordinator, five graduated students, two teachers, two principals, a social worker, and a guidance counselor at the two schools involved in the program, as well as program documents, direct observation, and publicly available media. The paper begins by exploring issues in the industrial food system for which education is often purported to be a part of the solution. It then outlines the theoretical framework of critical food pedagogy and several related concepts: ecological literacy, transformative learning, and critical place-based pedagogy. These concepts are applied to the idea of food literacy, building off of the work of Goldstein (2014) and Sumner (2012) to create metrics for measuring three kinds of food literacy: empirical/analytic, historical/hermeneutic, and critical/emancipatory. The paper explores related models of school gardens, farm-to-school programs, and youth employment market gardens before describing FoodShare’s School Grown program model and the results of the research. The data indicates that the program greatly impacts personal and interpersonal knowledge and skills, employment skills and opportunities, overall learning skills, and builds empirical/analytic and historical/hermeneutic food literacy knowledge and skills. In terms of critical/emancipatory learning, the program fosters and supports the beginnings of critical/emancipatory perspectives on food and related systems. The program also builds skills and knowledge that are linked to prosocial and proenvironmental attitudes and behaviours, and are ultimately related to critical/emancipatory learning, such as a sense of personal and group competency. The paper concludes by offering recommendations for supporting critical food pedagogy in the School Grown program. The findings can inform all food education programs that wish to foster critical perspectives on the food system.
Food and Fiction: Literature and Creative Writing as Food Pedagogy
By: Genevieve Fullan (2015)Vol. 21 No. 6 ISSN 1702-3548(online)
Writing about food has proliferated in the last few yearsand in many ways has been responsible for propelling the food movement, which can be broadly defined as the movement against alienating corporate industrial agriculture, into the mainstream. With the food memoir, or food alienation drama, becoming almost as ubiquitous as the nature memoir, this paper gives due attention to the works of fiction that perhaps less obviously deal with food issues, but nonetheless offer valuable insight. Food is always already storied and stories about food occupy a unique place in that every reader has their own material experience with food. Each reader has their own varied experiences with food and as such they bring with them a wide range of assumptions and understandings based on the role that food occupies in their lives. Both reading and writing offer a moment of intervention into those assumptions. Stories, particularly as they take shape in the novel, have the unique ability to transform our understanding by engaging readers beyond informationtransmission, making literature an important component of food pedagogy. Creative writing engages the mind and engages language in a way that is different from more formal academic writing, but in a way that is just as valuable. This paper consists of ecocritical readings of two novels—Timothy Taylor’s Stanley Park and Eden Robinson’s Monkey Beach—using food as the primary lens, as well as creative responses to those novels, in order to explore how both reading and writing offer different modes of research and inquiry. Together, ecocritical reading and creative writing offer complementary methods of food pedagogy that enhance and enrich the more common hands on approaches of current food pedagogy practices.
ʻThe publicʼ and planning in Toronto
By: Nadia Galati (2015)Vol.20 No. 1 8 ISSN 1702-3548 (online)
As both a science and an art, planning is regulated by public policy, concerned with shaping and guiding the physical growth and arrangement of natural and built environments. Within these environments what is considered ʻpublicʼ and how ʻthe publicʼ is used in planning discourses and planning tools is based on constantly changing, socio-political contexts. Shaped by planning decisions, ʻthe publicʼ often learns about transformations of urban space through stories in the media. These planning stories help ʻthe publicʼ understand and relate to their physical environments by ascribing meaning to space. Through a case study of the Mirvish + Gehry development, this research substantiates the importance of telling a good story about ʻthe publicʼ and ʻthe public goodʼ in relation to development. Mirvish + Gehry invested heavily in telling their version of a planning story. By funding and staging numerous appearances, centred on the benefits of his development, Mirvish embodied his story and his developmentʼs brand by exercising his social leverage, capital, power and privilege, all of which afforded him the attention of the media and therefore ʻthe public.ʼ In a Toronto context, place-based psychological ties to the community – like the Mirvish family history – are often found in discourses of legacy, art and the future. These ties have become useful tools for private and public development to build emotional connection to spatial environments. Both theoretically and in practice, planning stories help to build support and ʻcommon-senseʼ application of future, public spaces, by leveraging current placebased attachments through neoliberal narratives in the media. Developers and politicians have realized the potential of partnering with arts communities, through growth coalitions, to tell more persuasive and poignant stories. As MP Adam Vaughan stated (Galati 2015c), it is the “coolness factor” that arts and culture bring to development that helps it stand out in a fiercely competitive global market.
Neoliberalism,nature, and buen vivir: Diverse and divergent pathways to living well in Ecuador
By: Jan Kucic-Riker (2015)Vol. 21 No. 7 ISSN 1702-3548 (online)
Through a case study of buen vivir in Ecuador this paper considers the challenge of building postcapitalist alternatives and reimagining wellbeing as separate from economic growth in the context of globalization. Buen vivir is an adaptation of the Quechuan concept sumak kawsay, meaning to “live well” which rests on preserving (or regaining) a state of harmonious coexistence between humans and nature. The “living well” of Andean indigenous societies differs from the “living better” of industrialized civilization insofar as it must not come at the expense of others or the environment. I contend that buen vivir emerges out of a longer history of neoliberal development and colonialism in Latin America and provides a pathway from which to transcend the legacy of these systems. I argue that the incorporation of buen vivir into Ecuador’s 2008 constitution and its national development plan is more an attempt at moulding buen vivir to fit with existing state structures than at remaking those structures in a fashion that resonates with the ethos of buen vivir . I claim that many substantive differences exist between the state’s reading of buen vivir and indigenous understandings of sumak kawsay and that these are a source of contradictions in the policies and programs seeking to operationalize alternatives to conventional development models in the country. Through considering recent decisions over oil, mineral, and water governance, I suggest that the state pursues an export driven growth model dependent on theextraction of raw materials that leaves Ecuador’s submissive form of insertion in the global market unquestioned. While the insertion of sumak kawsay into Ecuadorian political discourse by no means bridges the Andean and Western cultural worlds nor does it transcend the ontological divide between humans and nature, it frees the state to think outside of dominant economic and political narratives. I conclude that buen vivir ’s success depends not on its realization of a post-capitalist and post-colonial order, but on its ability to prepare the ground from which such alternatives can take root.
The Role of the Environment in Mental Health Promotion: Investigating Mental Well-Being in the Credit River Watershed
By: Alexandra Elizabeth Belaskie (2015)Vol. 21 No. 1 ISSN 1702-3548 (online)
As more and more individuals are moving to and living in cities, the mental health burden of illness is rising, having individual, social and economic ramifications across the entire population (Srivastava, 2009). This raises the question of how to prevent, mitigate or reduce the effects of urban stress on individuals living in cities as the population continues to rise. This question was approached within the context the Credit River Watershed. 107 household surveys were administered in two contrasting urban neighbourhoods to discern the habits of respondents with regards to attending different types of natural spaces, and how relaxing those spaces are. These responses showed that overall, respondents found blue space, i.e. being near water features like rivers, ponds, and lakes, to be the most relaxing of all types of space, followed by looking out of windows at natural spaces, and private green space. Factor analysis was conducted on the responses of how relaxing different natural spaces are. This revealed four different factors within the data, which have been named“Self-Reported State of Mental Well-being,” “Wilderness and Personal Spaces,” “Designed Spaces,” and “Relaxing Activities.” These factors, excluding the “Self-Reported State of Mental Well-being” factor, were used in designing an Environmental Index of Mental Well-being (EIMWB), which could be used as a way of monitoring the impact of environmental management on mental well-being over time. The information from EIMWB monitoring and other data about the effects of natural spaces on mental well-being could be used together within the context of mental health promotion. Due to the more subjective nature of data connecting mental health with the environment, mental health promotion has not been embraced fully by public health agencies, where most health promotion strategies are positioned. Assuming that the requirement for hard scientific data will not be changed, alternative iii venues within which to place mental health promotion should be considered. This paper thus concludes that environmental management and design within urban areas can provide a setting for environmentally-based mental health promotion.
Tough Vinyl: Packing in Our Record Collections
By: Jacob McLean (2015)Vol. 21 No. 8 ISSN 1702-3548 (online)
This paper seeks to illuminate a series of contradictions between the way we talk about, write about, and interact with vinyl records on the one hand, and the material and social relations required for the use, production, and disposal of vinyl records on the other. I examine vinyl as both an ethical commodity (the sonic equivalent to slow food) and as “the poison plastic”; vinyl as both a medium for “subaltern” voices and as a toxic substance that causes cancer in the bodies of working class communities of colour; and vinyl as it both preserves the dead and destroys the living. These contradictions and many more, all part of what I call the vinyl-network, are exposed throughout this paper in a process of de-fetishizing vinyl. The central argument of this paper is that the nostalgia for petrocapitalism’s 20th century bounty (of which records are an iconic piece), is a dangerous fetish that perpetuates destructive social and material relations. Ultimately, I contend we need to abandon the vinyl revival and mourn the vinyl record, lest the way we listen to recorded music perpetuate the destructive economic system that is petrocapitalism, enabling it to spin on and on like a broken record. If we cannot move beyond this economic system, the dead will continue to pile up; we will repeat the same tragedies, different not in cause but in effect, as temperature and sea levels rise, as the Anthropocene Extinction Event wipes out one quarter of all mammals on earth, and as the screams of the dying are drowned out by the bourgeoisie’s hi-fi. This paper concludes with the suggestion that we take the broken record that is petrocapitalism, smash it into a million pieces, and feed it to a hungry colony of soil fungi.
Writing My Way Home: Disconnections, Connections, and Reconnections; Rifts and the Possibility of Healing Through Memory and Story
By: Lois Kamenitz (2015)Vol. 21 No. 2 ISSN 1702-3548 (online)
The current environmental crisis in western, capitalist, colonial societies reflects a moral crisis for which one more technological fix will not suffice. It reflects rifts between our body and the rest of nature that originate with the lack of a sense of embodied, felt somatic relationship to self, others and to nature, of which we are a part. In this paper, I explore how a critical autoethnographic lens, as self-reflective research and writing: shines a light on the interplay between an individual’s lived experiences and those of the wider world; situates the individual in a broader context; returns the gaze and, by so doing, leads to both a greater understanding of the interconnections between all things and to the possibility of healing. Autoethnography has become an important way for those on the margins to “talk back to power.” The notion of truth is one I see as very relevant to autoethnography. What is truth, whose truth are we referring to when we say something is true or not true, how is truth constructed and, who is privileged to speak the truth, who is silenced? In a similar fashion, knowledge and knowledge making are important. Autoethnography frees the writer to write in an evocative, engaging manner that can be easily accessed by a broad crosssection of readers. It speaks to how all creatures survive and thrive, even in difficult situations, and how they leave behind, not only the remnants of their material possessions and their physical presence, but their strength, their courage, their passion, their ingenuity, their rage and their love. “Autoethnography disrupts the binary of art and science (Ellis, Adam, & Bochner, 2011, Section 5). It weaves together the social sciences, the humanities and the craft of writing. I draw on myth and folklore, literature, poetry and photography, as well as academic writing in environmental studies, sociology, social and political theory, narrative theory, philosophy, and women’s studies. In telling my story, I am gathering knowledge from the past, but it is not necessarily knowledge about the past, for all that I sometimes have are traces and fragments. Memory too is selective; it plays tricks on us, for it is mediated. There is also collective memory. Most relevant to auto ethnography is the link between personal and collective identity. Through the writing process, I learn how loss begins to fade into memory and how I am able to construct memory and bring to consciousness seemingly lost memories, both individual and collective.
Land as Place-maker, Land as Medicine: Integrated Community Health and Earth-Based Healing
By: LP Pavey (2015)Vol. 21 No. 9 ISSN 1702-3548 (online)
This work concerns the emotional healing properties of the earth imagined through an anticolonial lens. Its aim is to think about the potentialities of alternate methods for personal and social change—methods that challenge normative investments in Western rational knowledge and cure. It reaches beyond individual trauma, colonizing therapies and considers how generational suffering can be addressed, in Dian Million’s words, when “people understand their knowledge as inextricable from their lived experience in their distinct places, in spiritual relationships, with land and life, and from traditions that change but are millennial” (2013, 13). Throughout my research, and specifically in my “Knowledge-Ways” component, I lean heavily upon Indigenous ways of knowing that prioritize the process or journey over arrival or end product. Knowledge understood through journey is not pre-determined, often spontaneous, and does not privilege outcomes. Where Indigenous perspective tends to value knowledge made through story, journey, experience and a relationship to the land, Western knowledge values positivist, empirical and results-oriented methods. The purpose of this research is not to create a one-size fits all way of thinking about healing but to create alternate narratives and ways of thinking to the dominant western medical model. This research will explore the earth and its relationship to health and spirituality, broadening the scope of what’s possible for urban marginalized communities. It also explores the challenges faced, particularly among urban groups, to secure land, funding and recognition for the value of earth-centered programs. My literature review takes up earth related knowledge gleaned from the fields of ecopsychology, critical urban studies, and Indigenous studies. While research in ecopsychology demonstrates empirical evidence that support the healing qualities of the earth, my projectdemonstrated the necessity for an anti-colonial analysis of earth-based healing. My personal narrative essay documents the journey that led me to a project on earth based healing. Through story and art, I describe how my arrival is made from difficult experience, political insight and spiritual growth. Personal narrative, as a methodological approach allows space for non-traditional knowledge-making. In story and art, emotional knowledge is transmitted and difficult experience is processed through the telling. My personal narrative situates me, the story-teller, as knowledge-maker. Finally, I developed a workshop module for facilitating an earth-based healing group. The module outlines engagement strategies, brainstorming activities, knowledge sharing exercises, story-telling circles, artistic mapping activities and closing ceremonies. My hope is to create a workshop template that is flexible in nature but that embodies key strategies for creating space that fosters meaningful community connectedness.
Possessed: A Genealogy of Black Women, Hauntology and Art as Survival
By: Anique Jordan (2015)Vol.21 No. 10 ISSN 1702-3548 (online)
An auto-ethnographical portfolio, Possessed comprisesthree photography installations and an essay. I employ family archives and self-portraits to understand the exceptional humanity of black women. Black women in the diaspora are positioned squarely in a fixed liminality — the in-between space of hybridity and fusion where we are both invisible and hypervisible. In the liminal space, a ghost emerges which I explain as haunting — the theory that the memory of violence and trauma can haunt. These ghosts help us to survive by allowing us to create art. Art herein is understood as any form of creation. We create things that protect us; we create ideas that we teach to our children that enable them to survive’ we create possibilities of the future and new memories of the past. The haunting then is a source of profound invention. Carnival is an example of the haunting aesthetic that comes from this space. I use mimicry and costume found in carnival aesthetic to create autobiographical writings and performance based photographic works — Salt: A Still Performance, Sixth CompanyBattalion and Blue Birth Beloved.
Blades of Fury: A Look at Wind Energy Resistance in Ontario
By: Alexandria Piccirilli (2015)Vol.21 No. 11 ISSN 1702-3548 (online)
Anthropogenic activities are causing unequivocal and persistentclimatic alterations. Wind energy and other alternative energy forms can minimize harmful emissions and provide sustainable solutions to climate change. Despite environmental benefits, public backlash and implementation issues impede wind energy. The development of wind energy in Ontario is substantially impacted by public perception of the technology. This paper explores the social barriers to the widespread adoption of wind energy in the province asidentified by residents in two rural communities – Prince Edward County and Kincardine. Forty-one residents in close proximity to the Armow Wind and the White Pines Wind projects were asked to describe their experiences with project planning and identify grievances. Human health, noise concerns, property value, and aesthetic disruption are primary concerns for residents, which is consistent with findings presented in the academic literature. Public perception plays an integral role in project development. Wind energy in Ontario faces significant resistance from community inhabitants near wind farm developments. This paper also examines how public participation in energy planning shapes residential wind energy perceptions. An in-depth examination of the participatory processes in both regions demonstrates that increased public involvement can positively shape wind energy attitudes. Public involvement strategies must be re-evaluated to reconcile community-proponent tensions and maximize resident decision-making power. Some residents in Kincardine and Prince Edward County are willing to re-evaluate their stance on wind energy projects with more active engagement in planning. These research findings also demonstrate how strained relationships between local communities and the provincial government can impact wind development. An inherent distrust of the provincial government and project planners exists in both study locations. This distrust leads to public unwillingness to accept government-issued wind energy information, shapes wind energy attitudes, and perpetuates misconceptions.
Visualizing Absence: Memorializing the histories of the former Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital
By: Anne Zbitnew (2015)Vol.21 No. 12 ISSN 1702-3548 (online)
My area of concentration looks at the connection betweeninclusive and collaborative visual art and communication. The components are visual communication, inclusive and collaborative visual art and there-creation and transformation of public space for exhibition and creative expression…My exploratory research involved students from Humber College Lakeshore and other artists who collaborated with me to make art as a response to historical narratives, archival images, the dominant psychiatric model and the hidden and lost stories that make up the history of the former psychiatric hospital which is now a learning institution. I work from a tangled perspective and this project offers a specific thread that connects to a knot. This tangle is not an unfocused or unsolvable mess but rather an intersection of ideas that can work together to create a new way of seeing and being. Inclusion and collaborative art connect with visual literacy and communication and also intersect with the re-creation of public space. My project, Visualizing Absence, aims to make aninclusive place for the creation of collaborative art as a way to connect and communicate. As I tug, pull and unravel that thread, I wonder how I can weave the threads back and forth, in and out, to make a fabric that may be uneven but strong.
The Politics of TEK in Oil and Gas: Knowledge Reconstructions and Assimilation
By: Leanne Ross (2015)Vol. 21 No. 4 ISSN 1702-3548 (online)
Indigenous Knowledge, now known by some as TraditionalEcological Knowledge (TEK), has informed Indigenous ways of life since time immemorial. Relatively recently, it has become of interest to dominant, settler society in Canada. The way in which I situate this research aims to examine TEK studies’ institutional processes, lived experiences of those processes, and finally how and why TEK is being collected and used for natural resource management in recognizing Indigenous Knowledge and reconciling a hegemonic relationship. The importance of this research is evident not only due to an increasing interest in TEK by dominant society, but also in terms of what it represents to Indigenous peoples versus how it is being defined, collected, and constructed by settler colonial state institutions to facilitate capital gain through resource exploitation. Through a socio-historical and contemporary analysis of colonization in Western Canada and the role oil and gas plays in the culture of liberal capitalism and knowledge development, TEK can be unpacked andunderstood in the context of settler colonial relations and structures. The methodologies employed for this research include a review of relevantliterature as well as interviews with individuals who have experience contributing and collecting TEK for oil and gas development. This research suggests that TEK is inadequately understood and collected by industry and state institutions, used to appease regulatory requirements, avoiding legal battles with Indigenous communities through what industry and government understands as ‘regulatory certainty’. In this way, the state has failed in attempts to recognize Indigenous Knowledge systems and continues to oppress, manipulate, and exploit Indigenous peoples and lands.
Class Politics in the Era of Neoliberalism: The Case of Karachi, Pakistan
By: Ayyaz Mallick (2014)Vol. 20 No. 5 ISSN 1702-3548 (online)
In one of the fastest growing cities in the world, and the biggest city in Pakistan, Karachi, the question of political praxis has seldom been addressed in academic literature beyond the received wisdom of various ‘primordial’ identities. Politics in the city, which until at least the 1980s had a vibrant trade/labour union movement, has become increasingly fragmented along ethnic and religious sectarian identities. This paper examines the various contours of neoliberal urbanism as it manifests itself in the context of Karachi and the political praxis it generates. The approach draws upon a Gramscian spatial historicism to look at the constitution of ‘historical situations as a confluence of multiple, spatially mediated temporal rhythms’ (Kipfer, 2012: 86). In doing so, it will look at the combined effects of neoliberal praxis, formal neo-imperialism and Pakistan’s continually evolving post-colonial state, on the emergence (or lack thereof) of working class politics in Karachi. Thus, the historically and geographically specific ensemble of forces at multiple scales (local, national and international) which act to impede and, in several cases, co-opt any forms of horizontal political praxis in the city will be elaborated upon. Light will also be shed upon the unresolved dialectic between residential and working spaces for Marxist praxis in urban areas. Thus, through local level analyses of the multi-scalar workings of state and capital, the paper argues that a dialectic of coercion and patronage animates – and restricts – the political choices made by Karachi’s working class subjects. In doing so, the paper also advocates for anunderstanding of class (and the process of class formation) being as much an objective category as a subjective, lived phenomenon which operates over multiple spaces (i.e. both residential and working spaces) and is necessarily shaped by forces operating over multiple scales. The paper will draw upon the author’s fieldwork in one residential and one industrial area of Karachi while combining insights from existing literature on class-based political praxis in other urban areas (especially in global South contexts) and current literature on Pakistan and its ‘over-developing’ state.
Think Outside the Cage: Moving Towards New Understandings of Companion Rabbits
By: Ruthann Arletta Drummond (2014)Vol. 20 No. 6 ISSN 1702-3548 (online)
Rabbits are the third most common companion mammal in Western homes, and their popularity continues to rise. However, they are also one of the most broadly used animal resources around the world, commonly being bred for their food, their fur, and their utility as biological models in animal testing. The human relationship with traditional pets (cats and dogs) has evolved over many centuries and is firmly established in Western culture as one ofcompanionship. However, our complex and contradictory relationships with multi ‐purpose rabbits has complicated their more recent initiation into the process of domestication. Their relatively sudden entrée into human social worlds has forced hurried and awkward adaptations of ways of knowing and living with the species that have been appropriated from their commercial exploitation as resources. Rabbits occupy a liminal space between domestic and wild, challenging Western assumptions of human dominance and control within the human home. The close captivity, stifled opportunities and stunted relationships offered to most pet rabbits reflect the tensions created between humans and animals under the strain of such ambiguity. In this paper, I endeavour to piece together a panoramic snapshot of rabbit care in Canada, identifying common threads that bind the ways we live with pet rabbits to exploitive traditions and patterns that hinder the potentiality of companionship. Farming and agricultural practice, laboratory animal science, the pet store industry, feed manufacturers, veterinary medicine, animal shelter and rescue groups, rabbit education networks, and all levels of legislation are surveyed as influential domains that contribute to the conceptual framework that sculpts the way we think about and act towards rabbits. Two common themes which are pervasive across domains are investigated in‐depth, as a way of opening a conversation to critically engage in a discussion of “companion rabbits.” The first of these is rabbits as creatures who confound categories, pushing boundaries and defying traditional labels and classifications that disrupt Western assumptions of Cartesian dualism, defined categories and human superiority. The second looks at the ways humans respond to the challenge of rabbits, through physical and conceptual containment and control of their ambiguous natures. After exploring the influences that shape the way we think about and relate to rabbits, I look at approaches to ethics and education that can help us to decenter and step away from anthropocentrism, leading the way forward towards a new companion relationship with rabbits. I conclude with suggestions for future trajectories that I hope can help us to embrace such an approach.
Of Erasure and Difference: The Continuing Colonial Project in Trancultural Psychiatry
By: Navneet Grewal (2014)Vol. 20 No. 7 ISSN Navneet Grewal (online)
Drawingon the personal stories of people of colour who have been in contact with psychiatric spaces, I argue that transcultural psychiatry commits itself to a colonial project which aims to do thefollowing: exclude people of colour from determining and making narratives about their own bodies; erase ongoingviolence against people of colour; and reproduce a form of cultural racism which locates illness in the cultures of racialized others. A number of theorists, including Francoise Verges, Ranjana Khanna, and Nadia Kanani have highlighted the ways in which psychiatry was based on the colonization of bodies of colour from its very inception, and the ways in which this continues today. As a person of colour myself, who has been institutionalized within space of psychiatric “care,” it is important for me to understand my story alongside the stories of other people of colour in order to give meaning to my experience that does not have to be legitimized bypsychiatrists. Through sharing my own personal story and those of other people of colour, I have centered the narratives of people of colour as a major method of critique against transcultural psychiatry, and as a way to understand psychiatry through the words of those who are often left out of transcultural psychiatric discourse. The stories that I have shared give rise to themes that illustrate the ways in which transcultural psychiatry engages in the reproduction of the colonial project. These include the following: that for many people of colour, experiences with mental health systems are often intertwined with experiences of criminalization and confinement; that the history of confinement and criminalization is a cause of emotional distressand a site of further violence against bodies of colour; that transcultural psychiatry continues the tradition of cultural racism which espouses that mental illness is linked to deficiency,which is now located in the racialized cultures; and that people of colour are silenced within both psychiatric spaces and within spaces connected to psychiatric spaces. These spaces include academic and government institutions which produce emotional distress by controlling and silencing racialized people, and neglect to fulfill their own mandate to provide mental health services for those who express a desire for them. The silencing of people of colour and the disengagement with a colonial past by transcultural psychiatrists has helped reproduce people of colour as mere objects of difference to be studied. This paper thus argues that transcultural psychiatry as a subdiscipline within psychiatry needs to address its colonial past. It more broadly understands psychiatry as a colonial construct which relies on the reproduction of cognitive difference between European and Non-European bodies – a difference without which transcultural psychiatry could not sustain itself in its current form.
Youth Homelessness in Ontario: Knowledge Mobilization, Social Media & System Integration to #End Homelessness
By: Isaac Coplan (2014)Vol. 20 No. 8 ISSN 1702-3548 (online)
This abstract is divided into three pieces to represent the different parts of the portfolio. The first chapter is a reflection on Knowledge Mobilization, the second is a draft of a chapter that prepared for a report on Youth Homelessness in York Region, the third chapter is a formal piece written for submission to an academic journal prepared based on secondary analysis from the research in York Region. Together, this portfolio demonstrates the styles and formats of writing that are part of the community of researchers working towards ending homelessness in Canada. Through the completion of evidence based practice and the use of new communications methods researchers are sharing their findings and influencing a field of policy and practice. Chapter 1: Reflection: Knowledge Mobilization. This piece is written in a format that is similar to those used by Research Impact, in their research snapshot. The headings are intended to make the document easy to navigate and understand the implications, actions and key pieces of the reflection. In this piece, I reflect on the importance of tracking research dissemination through online bibliometrics (such as Facebook, BIT.Ly and Google Analytics), and ultimately argue that, though it is not sufficient to measure the impact of research, it is an important way to measure the way that research is being received. Chapter 2: Youth Homelessness in York Region: A systems approach. This chapter emphasizes the importance of interpersonal and inter-organizational relationships in the current youth homelessness services sector in York Region. The chapter highlights several barriers and participant recommendations. Finally, the chapter suggests that integrating the current service sector, providing specific supports and expanding case management will play a large role in moving towards a system of care, from a fragmented service sector. Chapter 3: Youth Homelessness Service Sector in York Region: Relationships out of Necessity. This chapter was written so that it can be adapted for submission to an academic journal. York Region remains largely fragmented and uncoordinated. The lack of a structure and resources that would support integration means that there is a reliance on interpersonal relationships to achieve connectedness. While interpersonal relationships are strength in the youth homelessness service sector, in order to transform into a functioning system, the sector will require attention to coordination, measurement and designated funding for integration that addresses service gaps and provides greater access to the mainstream service sector.