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Water and Climate Change in Africa: Challenges and Community Initiatives in Durban, Maputo and Nairobi

THEME: Environmental politics and sustainable development

TITLE: Water and Climate Change in Africa: Challenges and Community Initiatives in Durban, Maputo and Nairobi

AUTHOR(S): Patricia E. Perkins

PUBLISHER: Routledge

DATE: April 4, 2013

TAGS: environment, economics, sociology, resources, politics, society, sustainable development

ABSTRACT: In the coming decades, countries around the world will face increasingly severe challenges related to global climate change. While the details vary from country to country, the impacts will be especially grave for marginalized people, whose access to food, potable water, and safe shelter may be threatened due to fluctuations in rainfall and temperature, and to extreme weather events. Because weather extremes are the main way that climate change manifests itself, water governance is a crucial aspect of climate change resilience.

Following an overview of the ways climate change is affecting three cities in Africa, Water and Climate Change in Africa: Challenges and Community Initiatives in Durban, Maputo and Nairobidiscusses the equity and climate justice implications, and then gives examples of ways in which a range of local community organizations are extending their current activities to address these challenges through innovative new programs and initiatives at the grassroots. This approach has implications for communities worldwide; it is a process of building on existing organizations’ aptitudes and strengths in the light of local knowledge of climate challenges, and creating partnerships to build equity-enhancing new methods of protecting people’s subsistence.

This book should be of interest to climate change scholars, activists and policy-makers, as well as development studies researchers and practitioners.

LINKS: To view the entire publication, go to

COPYRIGHT: Copyright © 2013 Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Perkins, P. E. (2013). Water and climate change in Africa challenges and community initiatives in Durban, Maputo and Nairobi. New York, N.Y.: Routledge.

Are legislative frameworks in Canada and Ontario up to the task of addressing invasive alien species?

Published November 20th, 2013

THEME: Invasive alien species, Legislative review, Prevention Management

TITLE: Are legislative frameworks in Canada and Ontario up to the task of addressing invasive alien species?

AUTHOR(S): Andrea L. Smith, Dawn R. Bazely, Norman Yan

JOURNAL: Biological Invasions

DATE: November 20, 2013

TAGS: invasive alien species, legislative review, Canada, Ontario, prevention, management

ABSTRACT: As a signatory to the international Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Canada has committed to prevent, control, and eradicate invasive alien species (IAS). Yet, despite developing policy on  biodiversity and IAS, the federal government has been criticized for its inaction on biological invasions over the past decade. In Canada's most populous province, Ontario, similar conditions have been raised about the provincial government's approach to dealing with IAS. The ongoing criticism of government response suggests that an effective legislative framework to guide and coordinate action on IAS may be lacking in Canada. In this paper, we examined how well existing legislation at the federal and Ontario levels addresses IAS threats, and thus contributes to CBD commitments. We reviewed a total of 98 pieces of legislation, comprised of 55 federal acts, two federal omnibus bills, and 41 Ontario acts. Of these,  20 federal and 12 Ontario acts were found to cover IAS either intentionally or incidentally, but IAS was not the central focus of most legislation. No consistent terminology existed across legislation referring to IAS, further highlighting a lack of focus on the issue. Legislation on IAS was administered by several different ministries both federally and in Ontario, but coordination of action among agencies was not explicitly addressed in laws and regulations. While many acts provided broad powers of enforcement, most provisions were not directly linked to IAS prevention and management. In general, Canada's legislative framework on IAS is fragmented, and this complicates the development of a coordinated approach to this problem.

LINKS: To view the entire publication, go to

COPYRIGHT: Copyright © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Smith, A. L.D. R. Bazely and N. Yan. 2013.   Are legislative frameworks in Canada and Ontario up to the task of addressing invasive alien species?  Biological Invasions DOI: 10.1007/s10530-013-0585-x.

Environmental and Human Security in the Arctic

THEMES:  Arctic and Northern, Climate Change, Social Justice

TITLE: Environmental and Health Security in the Arctic

AUTHOR(S): Gunhild Hoogensen Gjørv, Dawn Bazely, Goloviznina Marina, Andrew Tanentzap

DATE: October 4, 2013

TAGS: security studies, environmental politics, climate change, health geography, governance

ABSTRACT: This is the first comprehensive exploration of why human security is relevant to the Arctic and what achieving it can mean, covering the areas of health of the environment, identity of peoples, supply of traditional foods, community health, economic opportunities, and political stability. The traditional definition of security has already been actively employed in the Arctic region for decades, particularly in relation to natural resource sovereignty issues, but how and why should the human aspect be introduced? What can this region teach us about human security in the wider world?

The book reviews the potential threats to security, putting them in an analytical framework and indicating a clear path for solutions.Contributions come from natural, social and humanities scientists, hailing from Canada, Russia, Finland and Norway.

Environmental and Human Security in the Arctic
is an essential resource for policy-makers, community groups, researchers and students working in the field of human security, particularly for those in the Arctic regions.

LINKS: To purchase see here.

COPYRIGHT: Copyright © 2013 Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Hoogensen, G., Bazely, D., Goloviznina, M., and Tanentzap, A.. (2013). Environmental and Human Security in the Arctic.

Work and Climate Change Report: Issue 21, Oct 2013

The Work and Climate Change Report is a monthly online publication which alerts and informs academics, practitioners and students about important new research and legislation from Canada and around the world. WCR is published by the Work in a Warming World Research Programme, York University. 

To view this months report, click here

For questions, comments, or if you wish to subscribe to our monthly report, please e-mail us at: 

Visit us at:  

Second generation biofuels and bioinvasions: An evaluation of invasive risks and policy responses in the United States and Canada

THEME: Biofuel Development, Policy Formulation

TITLE: Second generation biofuels and bioinvasions: An evaluation of invasive risks and policy responses in the United States and Canada

AUTHOR(S): Andrea L. Smith, Nicole Klenk, Stepan Wood, Nina Hewitt, Irene Henriques, Norman Yan, Dawn R. Bazely

JOURNAL: Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews

DATE: June 7, 2013

TAGS: biofuels, biological invasion, invasive species, second generation, policy, risk

ABSTRACT: Biofuels are being embraced worldwide as sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels, because of their potential to promote energy security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while providing opportunities for job creation and economic diversification. However, biofuel production also raises a number of environmental concerns. One of these is the risk of biological invasion, which is a key issue with second generation biofuel crops derived from fast-growing perennial grasses and woody plant species. Many of the most popular second generation crops proposed for cultivation in the U.S. and Canada are not native to North America, and some are known to be invasive. The development of a large-scale biofuel industry on the continent could lead to the widespread introduction, establishment, and spread of invasive plant species if invasive risks are not properly considered as part of biofuel policy. In this paper, we evaluate the risk of biological invasion posed by the emerging second generation biofuel industry in the U.S. and Canada by examining the invasive risk of candidate biofuel plant species, and reviewing existing biofuel policies to determine how well they address the issue of invasive species. We find that numerous potentially invasive plant species are being considered for biofuel production in the U.S. and Canada, yet invasive risk receives little to no attention in these countries' biofuel policies. We identify several barriers to integrating invasive species and biofuel policy, relating to policy analytical capacity, governance, and conflicting policy objectives. We recommend that governments act now, while the second generation biofuel industry is in its infancy, to develop robust and proactive policy addressing invasive risk. Policy options to minimize biological invasions include banning the use of known invasive plant species, ongoing monitoring of approved species, and use of buffer zones around cultivated areas.

LINKS: To view the entire publication, go to

COPYRIGHT: Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: A.L. Smith, N. Klenk, S. Wood, N. Hewitt, I. Henriques, N. Yan, D.R. Bazely. (2013). Second generation biofuels and bioinvasions: An evaluation of invasive risks and policy responses in the United States and Canada. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 27, 30-42.

Book: Climate@Work

The following appeared in the July 8, 2013 edition of YFile. Carla Lipsig-Mumme is a Core Faculty member of IRIS.

Climate change is having an impact on jobs in Canada, says prof

Climate change is having an increasingly significant impact on work in Canada, says York Professor Carla Lipsig-Mummé, editor of a new book on the subject – Climate@Work.

“This is the first book on Canada that takes up two questions – what is the impact of climate change on Canadian jobs and Canadian work, and what is the impact of Canadian Climate@WorkBookresponses to climate change on Canadian jobs,” says Lipsig-Mummé, director of  Work in a Warming World (W3) at York. W3 a research program that actively engages the Canadian work world in the struggle to slow global warming.

The effect climate change has, and will continue to have, on work concerns many Canadians, she says. However, this fact has not been seriously considered either in academic circles, the labour movement or by the Canadian government.

Climate@Work (Fernwood Publishing) systematically tackles the question of the impact of climate change on work and employment, and analyzes Canada’s conservative silence towards climate change and the Canadian government’s refusal to take it seriously.

“Every developed country needs a “national” climate plan. Canada doesn’t have one and is widely criticized for the damage this causes,” says Lipsig-Mummé, a professor of work and labour studies in the Department of Social Science, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. “The federal government’s termination of the national industrial and service sector councils and its weakening of environmental protection regulation and environmental science research are disastrous for Canada’s economic resilience.”

Human activity is the major cause of global warming. Recent research has shown that in developed countries the world of work produces about 80 per cent of greenhouse gases. If work is a major producer of greenhouse gases, can the world of work – its workplaces, unions and professional associations – become major actors in slowing global warming?

The logical answer is yes. “The labour movement has a large role to play in ‘greening’ work –adapting how we work in order to mitigate the GHGs we produce,” she says. “But puzzlingly, the role of work in the struggle to control climate change has been neglected, not only in Canada, but worldwide. An ongoing conversation between specialists and CarlaLipsigMummeactivists on labour and on the environment has yet to develop. With Climate@Work, we hope to quicken the conversation.”

Carla Lipsig-Mummé

In the absence of national climate strategies, economic sectors are making strides in producing cleaner, but their strategic creativity is not getting enough publicity. Their best practices need to be shared widely.

But Lipsig-Mummé cautions about believing the hype about “green jobs”. What is needed is to “green” the work that’s done now.

Climate@Work focuses on six economic sectors: energy, construction, tourism, postal services, forestry and transportation vehicles. It examines Canada in an international context, at international agreements, and the strange absence of research on work and climate change in scholarly journals. York geography Professor Steven Tufts and Elizabeth Perry, editor of the monthly Work and Climate Change Report at York are contributors to the book.

It is a book that would appeal not only to academics and climate scientists concerned about the social dimensions of climate warming, but students, both undergraduate and graduate, policy analysts, labour market and environment practitioners, and the public.

Effects of climate change on the distribution of invasive alien species in Canada: a knowledge synthesis of range change projections in a warming world

THEME: Science Policy Gap, Climate Change

TITLE: Effects of climate change on the distribution of invasive alien species in Canada: a knowledge synthesis of range change projections in a warming world

AUTHOR(S): Andrea L. Smith, Nina Hewitt, Nicole Klenk, Dawn R. Bazely, Norman Yan, Stepan Wood, Irene Henriques, James I. MacLellan, Carla Lipsig-Mummé

JOURNAL: Environmental Reviews

DATE: January 19, 2012

TAGS: climate change, invasive species, range, distribution, knowledge synthesis, global change

ABSTRACT: The interactive effects of climate change and invasive alien species (IAS) pose serious threats to biodiversity, ecosystems and human well-being worldwide. In particular, IAS are predicted to experience widespread changes in distribution in response to climate change, with many expanding their ranges into new areas. However, the two drivers of global change are seldom considered together in policy and management. We conducted a knowledge synthesis to assess the state of research on IAS range shifts under climate change in Canada. We found that the study of IAS distribution changes caused by climate change is a relatively new field of inquiry that integrates research in the areas of ecology, conservation biology, and environmental sciences. The multidisciplinary dimensions of the issue are largely overlooked in the scholarly literature, with most studies having a purely natural science perspective. Very little original research has occurred in the field to date; instead literature reviews are common. Research focuses on modeling range changes of current IAS threats, rather than predicting potential future IAS threats. The most commonly studied IAS already occur in Canada as native species that have spread beyond their range (e.g., lyme disease, mountain pine beetle, smallmouth bass) or as established invaders (e.g., gypsy moth). All of these IAS are expected to expand northward with climate change, resulting in widespread negative impacts on forest and freshwater biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and public health. Many barriers to predicting IAS range change under climate change are identified in the literature, including the complexity of the issue, lack of ecological data, and failure to integrate climate change – IAS interactions into research, policy, and management. Recommendations for increased research and monitoring, and the need for policy and management reform predominate in the literature.

LINKS: To view the entire publication, go to

COPYRIGHT: Copyright © 2012 Environmental Reviews

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Andrea L. Smith, Nina Hewitt, Nicole Klenk, Dawn R. Bazely, Norman Yan, Stepan Wood, Irene Henriques, James I. MacLellan, Carla Lipsig-Mummé.; 2012. “Effects of climate change on the distribution of invasive alien species in Canada: a knowledge synthesis of range change projections in a warming world.”

Taking stock of the Assisted Migration Debate

THEME: Science Policy Gap

TITLE: Taking stock of the Assisted Migration Debate

AUTHOR(S):  N. Hewitt, N. Klenk,  A.L. Smith, N.Yan, S. Wood, J.I. MacLellan, C. Lipsig-Mumme, and I. Henrqiues

JOURNAL: Biological Conservation; Volume 144, Issue 11

DATE: January 4, 2011 (Available online: September 8, 2011)

TAGS: assisted migration, habitat fragmentation and destruction, taxonomic perspective, socioeconomic implications, AM debate, consensus

ABSTRACT: Assisted migration was proposed several decades ago as a means of addressing the impacts of climate change on species populations. While its risks and benefits have been debated, and suggestions for planning and management given, there is little consensus within the academic literature over whether to adopt it as a policy. We evaluated the main features of the assisted migration literature including the study methods, taxonomic groups, geographic regions and disciplines involved. We further assessed the debate about the use of assisted migration, the main barriers to consensus, and the range of recommendations put forth in the literature for policy, planning or implementation. Commentaries and secondary literature reviews were as prevalent as first-hand scientific research and attention focussed on a global rather than regional level. There was little evidence of knowledge transfer outside of the natural sciences, despite the obvious policy relevance. Scholarly debate on this topic has intensified during the last 3 years. We present a conceptual framework for evaluating arguments in the debate, distinguishing among the direct risks and benefits to species, ecosystems and society on the one hand, and other arguments regarding scientific justification, evidence-base and feasibility on the other. We also identify recommendations with potential to advance the debate, including careful evaluation of risks, benefits and trade-offs involvement of relevant stakeholders and consideration of the complementarity among assisted migration and less risk-tolerant strategies. We conclude, however, that none of these will solve the fundamental, often values-based, challenges in the debate. Solutions are likely to be complex, context-dependent and multi-faceted, emerging from further research, discussion and experience.

LINKS: To view the entire publication, go to

COPYRIGHT: Copyright © 2011 Biological Conversation

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Bazely, D.R.; Henriques, I.; Hewitt, N.; Klenk, N.; MacLellan, J.I.; Lipsig-Mumme, C.; Smith, A.L.; Wood, S.; Yan, N.; 2011. “Taking stock of the Assisted Migration Debate.”

Missing the Boat on Invasive Alien Species: A Review of Post-Secondary Curricula in Canada

THEME: Science Policy Gap

TITLE: Missing the Boat on Invasive Alien Species: A Review of Post-Secondary Curricula in Canada

AUTHOR(S):  Dawn R. Bazely, Andrea L. Smith, and Norman D. Yan

JOURNAL: Canadian Journal of Higher Education 2011. 41: 34 – 47

DATE: 2011

TAGS: Invasive Alien Species (IAS), ecological perspective, social, and economical problems with IAS, interdisciplinary approach

ABSTRACT: Invasive alien species (IAS) cause major environmental and economic damage worldwide, and also threaten human food security and health. The impacts of IAS are expected to rise with continued globalization, land use modification, and climate change. Developing effective strategies to deal with IAS requires a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach, in which scientists work co-operatively with social scientists and policy-makers. Higher education can contribute to this process by training professionals to balance the ecological, economic, and social dimensions of the IAS problem. We examined the extent of such training in Canada by reviewing undergraduate and graduate university curricula at all 94 member institutions of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada for IAS content.  We found that degree and diploma programs focusing on IAS issues are lacking at Canadian post-secondary institutions. Furthermore, few courses are devoted solely to IAS, and those that are typically adopt an ecological perspective. We argue that the absence of interdisciplinary university curricula on IAS in Canada negatively affects our ability to respond to this growing global challenge. We present several international educational programs on IAS as case studies on how to better integrate training on invasive species into university curricula in Canada.

LINKS: To view the entire publication, go to

COPYRIGHT: Copyright © 2011 Canadian Journal of Higher Education

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Bazely, D.R.; Smith, A.L.; Yan, N.D.; 2011. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 41. “Missing the Boat on Invasive Alien Species: A Review of Post-Secondary Curricula in Canada.”

Examining Campus Waste through Strategic Waste Education and Elimination Project (SWEEP)

THEME: Campus Sustainability

TITLE: Examining Campus Waste through Strategic Waste Education and Elimination Project (SWEEP)

AUTHOR(S): Alexis Esseltine, Meagan Heath, Granaz Ghalehvand, Holly Ouellette, Guru Rengan, Sridhar Srinivasan, Santhosh Poobathy, Nina Popova, Chiara Camponeschi

DATE: 2009-2010

TAGS: waste management, food sustainability, recycling/compost, biodegradable containers, Green Report Card, paperless practices, environmental awareness, re-usable dishes, convenience

ABSTRACT: The Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS) became interested in waste management during their 2008-09 investigation into the sustainability of campus food services. Waste, as the report identified, was a key issue relating to food sustainability. And so it was through this research that IRIS was driven to delve deeper into the world of campus waste management, investigating food waste and every other type of publicly generated waste on campus. The majority of the York community members surveyed indicated that they were very interested in the environment, with 84% being either interested or very interested in environmental issues, and 90% considering  themselves either dedicated recyclers/composters or aware of what could be recycled/composted and doing their best to comply. However, respondents showed that, despite good intentions, many found it difficult to divert waste at York. Only slightly more than half (55%) of respondents were aware of the organic digesters (composters) located around York’s two campuses, and, of those who knew of their existence, 63% rarely or never used them. Additionally, the majority of respondents (65%) did not know that York manages its own waste, and 70% agreed or strongly agreed that they were confused about what was recyclable at York. In fact, 76% of respondents thought that paper coffee cups were recyclable on campus when this is currently not the case. When asked how York could improve their participation in waste diversion and reduction the top three answers were: have more bins available, provide clearer labels for waste bins, and provide feedback on how well the York community is managing its waste. As for what respondents thought York should make its top waste priorities, collecting organic waste indoors ranked first, followed by increased paperless practices and encouraging food vendors to offer reusable dishes and cutlery. As a result of these findings, we recommended that York undertake a communication and education strategy aimed at improving overall campus knowledge about waste that will result in significantly improved waste diversion rates. Education could be conducted in many different ways, such as through orientation waste lessons, staff outreach, and a program similar to the energy reduction program Res Race to Zero, with a possible title of Res Race to ZeroWaste. Communication could be improved through a more user-friendly waste website, the production of campus waste maps, and more detailed waste bin labelling. Additional programs are also recommended to further fulfill the community’s needs and wants, including: more paperless practices, reusable dishes in campus eateries, end of year waste drop off depots for residence dwellers, and more conveniently located waste bins. These initiatives, along with the engagement of the York community, will lead York to its target of recycling/composting a minimum of 65% of its waste by 2013. The following report reviews the waste management program offered at York University by the Campus Services and Business Operation’s (CSBO) Grounds, Fleet and Waste Management unit, while also identifying trends and best practices in campus waste management at other post-secondary institutions in North America and Europe. These reviews provided a context for conducting a survey of the York University community about the current waste management practices at York. The survey, in which respondents were asked to reflect on their waste behaviours, perceptions and priorities on- and off-campus, was one element of the larger waste-awareness program entitled Strategic Waste Elimination Education Program (SWEEP). The following document reports on the findings from this survey and provides recommendations for York University to further improve its successful management of waste management at other post-secondary institutions in North America and Europe

LINKS: To view the entire publication, go to

COPYRIGHT: Copyright © 2009/2010 Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Esseltine, A.; Heath, M.; Ghalehvand, G.; Ouellette, H.; Rengan, G.; Srinivasan, S.; Poobathy, S.; Popova, N.; Camponeschi, C.; 2009/2010.“Examining Campus Waste through Strategic Waste Education and Elimination Project (SWEEP)”