Bunch, Martin J
Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Studies)
MA (Geography) , Waterloo
PhD (Geography) , Waterloo
My educational background is in the discipline of geography. However, my work is interdisciplinary (existing at the intersection of several of the disciplinary sciences and geographic subdisciplines) and transdisciplinary (as the problems I address require an approach that transcends traditional disciplinary bounds). It seems obvious to me that this type of work is fertile ground for geographers who (supposedly) are practitioners of a science which is both analytic and synthetic, makes use of qualitative as well as quantitative methods, and has a history of exploring relationships among human beings and their physical, social and built environments.
My approach to environmental studies and geography is best illustrated by comments made by Leslie Currie in a 1991 issue of The Canadian Geographer. Currie has commented that,
“people who write on the aims of geography but do not combine its analytic and integrative roles simultaneously are surely missing the boat.”
Currie was referring to the need for cumulative synthetic theory in geography, and lamenting the tendency of some geographers to identify too strongly with neighbouring systematic fields. In opposition to the divisive influence of traditional disciplinary science on geography, and to emphasise the importance of synthesis, he stated (1991) that;
“I really have no time at all for those great minds who emphasise a unity of science corresponding to a unity of reality and the divisiveness of petty disciplines. There are only ‘problems' to be tackled, applied or academic, and we must all contribute what we can. Essentially, this leaves the mature disciplines not only defining the problems but also judging the solutions in terms of their ground rules. One has to staunchly reject the numerous clarion calls to pursue knowledge where'er it may lead, since this means following physicists into their kind of climatology or economists into their sort of spatial economy, wherever their particular train tracks take them. We have to be willing to be naïve where specialist sciences are strong, knowing that we are sophisticated where they are weak.”
It is a task of those who undertake environmental studies to bring together the knowledge and tools of physical and social sciences such as geology, chemistry, economics and sociology, to bear on the applied or academic problems on which they ply their trade. But merely applying a variety disciplinary tools and knowledge sets to the problem is insufficient. Knowledge must be integrated in a such a way that our understanding of the issue at hand is enhanced in a way that the cumulative contribution of disciplinary understandings is unable to achieve. The geographer's focus on space and place provides both a theoretical anchor and a set of methods and techniques to do this.
Curry, Leslie (1991) "Guest Essay: The Need for Cumulative Synthetic Theory" in The Canadian Geographer, 35(1): 2-9.
Funded Research Projects since 2013
Building capacity for the ecological footprint national accounts in Canada. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. 2018-2020.
Developing the Ecological Footprint Research Initiative. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. 2018-2020.
Ecosystem services for human well-being in the Credit River Watershed: A comparison of monetary valuation, multi-criteria non-monetary valuation and multi-scale integrated analysis of societal and ecosystem metabolism. SSHRC via subgrant from the Water, Economics, Policy and Governance Network. 2016-2019.
Human well-being, ecosystem services and watershed management in the Credit River.
Valley: Web-distributed mechanisms and indicators for communication and awareness. Credit Valley Conservation Authority. 2015-2016.
Managing Water and Watersheds for Co-benefits: Human well-being and ecosystem services in the Credit River Watershed. SSHRC via subgrant from the Water, Economics, Policy and Governance Network. 2015-2017.
Sustainable Tourism Initiative in a Biological Corridor. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Co-I, Felipe Montoya PI). 2015-2016.
The Nechako Watershed Portal: A web-based, geospatial tool to foster information exchange and guide land and water decision-making in the Nechako River Basin. British Columbia Real Estate Foundation. (Co-I, Margot Parkes PI). 2015-2020.
Human well-being, ecosystem services and watershed management in the Credit River.
Valley: Web-distributed mechanisms and indicators for communication and awareness. SSHRC via subgrant from the Water, Economics, Policy and Governance Network. 2013-2015.
(See http://www.yorku.ca/bunchmj for a more complete list, links to abstracts and full papers.)
Refereed Research Contributions since 2013
Bunch, M. J., Ramirez, R., & Morrison, K. E. (2019). Sustainability: Systems Thinking in Complex Situations. In Education for Sustainable Human and Environmental Systems: From Theory to Practice (pp. 19–32). New York and London: Routledge Earthscan.
Mallery, D., & Bunch, M. J. (2019). Viability of Complex Systems: A Holistic Conceptual Framework. In Education for Sustainable Human and Environmental Systems: From Theory to Practice (pp. 33–46). New York and London: Routledge Earthscan.
Morrison, K. E., Focht, W., & Bunch, M. J. (2019). The Social Learning Challenge. In Education for Sustainable Human and Environmental Systems: From Theory to Practice (pp. 47–61). New York and London: Routledge Earthscan.
Soskolne, C.L., Bunch, M.J., Butler, C.D., and Parkes, M.W. (2018). “Navigating Complexity, Promoting Health: Insights from the emergence of ‘Ecohealth’ and ‘One Health’.” Chapter 8. In Laura Westra, Klaus Bosselmann, Janice Gray and Kathryn Gwiazdon eds. Ecological Integrity, Law and Governance. London and New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. pp. 79-90.
Berbes-Blazquez, M., Bunch, M.J., Peterson, G.D., Mulvihill, P., and B. van Wendel de Joode (2017). Understanding how access shapes the transformation of ecosystem services to human well-being with an example from Costa Rica. Ecosystem Services 28(Part C): 320-327. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoser.2017.09.010.
Przybysz R, Bunch, M.J. (2017). Exploring Spatial Patterns of Sudden Cardiac Arrests in the City of Toronto using Poisson kriging and Hot Spot Analyses. PLoS ONE 12(7): e0180721.https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0180721.
Parkes, M., Saint-Charles, J., Cole, D., Gislason, M., Hicks, E., Le Bourdais, C., McKellar, K., St-Cyr Bouchard, M., Ecohealth COP Team: Beck, L., Bunch, M., et al. (2017). Strengthening collaborative capacity: experiences from a short, intensive field course on ecosystems, health and society. Higher Education Research & Development 36 (5):1031-1046.
Bunch, M.J. (2016). Ecosystem Approaches to Health and Well-being: Navigating Complexity, Promoting Health in Social-Ecological Systems. Systems Research and Behavioural Science, 33(5):614-632.
Morrison, K, Bunch M.J., and L. Hallström (2016). “Public Health at the Watershed Scale” pp 337-356 in S. Renzetti and D. Dupont (eds.) Water Policy in Canada. New York: Springer.
Bunch, M.J. and D. Waltner-Toews (2015). Grappling with Complexity: The Context for One Health and the Ecohealth Approach. In Jakob Zinsstag, Esther Schelling, Maxine Whittaker and Marcel Tanner eds. One health: The theory and practice of integrated health approaches. Oxfordshire: CABI.
Kish, K., Bunch, M.J., & Xu, B. J. (2015). Soft Systems Methodologies in Action: Environment, Health & Shanghai’s Elderly. Systemic Practice and Action Research, 29(1): 61–77. http://doi.org/10.1007/s11213-015-9353-4.
Ghaffari, A., Bunch, M.J., MacRae, R.J., & S.J. Zhao (2015). Socio-economic Support Optimization for Transition from Conventional to Organic Farming Using a Spatiotemporal Agent-based Model. International Journal of Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies: 8(3-4): 13–25.
Bunch, M.J., Parkes, M., Zubrycki, K., Venema, H.D., Hallstrom, L., Neudorffer, C., Berbés-Blázquez, M. and K. Morrison (2014). Watershed Management and Public Health: An Exploration of the Intersection of Two Fields as Reported in the Literature from 2000 to 2010. Environmental Management 54(2):240-254.
Kebo, S. and M.J. Bunch (2013). Canadian ENGOs in governance of water resources: information needs and monitoring practices. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 185(11): 9451-9460.