I am currently finishing the first-year of my Masters in Environmental Studies at the Faculty of Environmental Studies here at York – where I also obtained my Bachelor in Environmental Studies with Honours.
As a summer GA with IRIS, I will be working on concluding an ongoing UFORE(Urban Forest Effects Model) analysis of forest cover on York’s campus. The final report will detail significant benefits from campus forest cover, including pollution abatement and CO² sequestration, among others. I believe this type of work is important because it allows our society to assign value that was previously unrecognized – providing an obvious motivation to enhance and preserve nature.
During my undergrad studies, I pursued the dual streams of environmental management and politics in my undergraduate studies. Returning back to the Ottawa Valley, I worked for two summers in the Natural Resources division at CFB Petawawa on a variety of management activities, including West Nile virus surveillance and reforestation projects. I spent another two summers at the Petawawa Research Forest – where my main functions were carried out in my ‘office with the view’ - one of the only remaining fire towers in Ontario. I also assisted in research activities and engaged the public in learning about the local flora and fauna. This background has inspired an emphasis on Canadian forest policy and management in my studies at York. However, by applying a political economy ecology critique to conservation and sustainable management efforts, I also hope to rectify the distinctions between the environmentalism and social justice.
I am a 4th year Undergraduate Psychology student at York University. In my mind, all things involve a process, and every moment has a reason. I take it my personal responsibility to ask 'Why?' I like to think of myself as an amateur philosopher of sorts, although I am a kid at heart. My love of psychology has spurred my interest in a broad spectrum of world issues, including the impact of our human lifestyles on the environment. I am fortunate enough to finally be able to fully appreciate this interaction by working for IRIS. To me, everything relates back to psychology. It is commonly accepted that human personalities, for example, are influenced by an interaction of both genetics AND the environment. This interaction implies that one affects the other. Thus, just as people have a large effect on their environment, so does the environment affect the people. It is safe to say that I am an individual who-as opinionated as I may seem-believes in seeing things from every possible perspective, as there is always more than one side to the story. I also enjoy the therapeutic benefits of classical singing and heavy metal 🙂
As part of my Master's of Environmental Studies I am able to conduct field experience research to apply theoretical knowledge of sustainability. With my interest in the social, economic and political dimensions of sustainable development, IRIS is a perfect institute to work with projects and individuals conducting practical sustainability research. This summer I am assisting Andrea Smith in her work for the Ontario Biodiversity Forum on invasive alien species. This research involves examining the economic, ecological and social impacts of invasive alien species in Ontario, as well as the political responses to these issues. In light of various commitments to address Biodiversity concerns, concrete action has been limited, and thus Andrea is proposing to fill in these information gaps.