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flowers and train tracks

IRIS has been a leading force in the development of knowledge that provides insight into the scientific, economic, social, environmental and cultural aspects of sustainability. For more information on our collaborative sustainability research, please explore the current and past project:

Current IRIS Research

Campus Sustainability Projects

  • Building the York U Community Campus Sustainability Surveys
    IRIS has conducted an annual campus sustainability survey since 2007. The very first IRIS survey gathered the York community’s thoughts on climate change. The results of the survey then lead to the introduction of carbon neutral course kits. Other additional surveys have emphasized on the York community’s thoughts and opinions on campus food offerings, behaviours, and attitudes regarding the waste found on campus, campus engagement, and accessibility. Once a theme has been selected, IRIS works closely with the relevant faculties, departments and operational units to develop the action agenda. During 2012-2013, the selected theme is Greening Transportation.

Regional Projects

  • Churchill Community of Knowledge
    An online resource of data and media about the Town of Churchill, its people, Wapusk National Park, and the extensive research supported by the Churchill Northern Studies Centre. This Digital Archive is hosted by the Yorkspace Institutional Repository, York University, Toronto. The first collection in the project celebrates the life and work of Professor Bob Jefferies, who carried out field research in ecology in and near Churchill, for 30 years.
  • Community-based environmental education and mobilization in marginalized urban communities for equitable watershed governance
    This project will utilize existing university-community partnerships to develop, test, improve and disseminate arts- and science-base methods and materials for increasing democratic watershed management and civic engagement amongst adults and senior citizens in marginalized communities in Canada. The project will employ a participatory methodology focusing on urban watershed issues and challenges as identified by community members. Expected policy outcomes include the potential for improved environmental governance through increased participation by civil society; greater knowledge and understanding of practical ways to meet the challenge of public ignorance and apathy about the importance of watershed governance; contributions to community cohesiveness and resilience, confidence, and leadership in marginalized communities; and tested, practical strategies for advancing sustainable development in Canada.
  • Community-Designed Sustainable Furniture for the Centre for Green Change
    This community-university project will bring local residents, students, academics, community/non-profit partners, and professional designers together in a number of workshops to design and build sustainable furniture using recovered/recycled materials. These furniture pieces will be used in the Centre for Green Change that will house the growing environmental education and green employment programs of the Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre’s Green Change Project.

National/International Projects

  • Climate Justice and Water Management
    Climate Justice and Water Management project links university researchers with community-based NGOs conducting environmental education, and organizing participatory workshops in low-income African cities with pressing climate change and water-related problems. This project builds on proven methods of community-university collaboration to strengthen urban watershed governance and increase equity in public participation processes related to urban climate change adaptation.
  • Connecting four research solitudes: the impacts and implications of climate change for invasive species, biodiversity and society
    The interactive effects of climate change and invasive species are complex and highly changeable. We cannot afford to ignore them if we are to successfully manage and adapt to a rapidly changing environment. Further delays in recognizing the interactive effects of climate change and invasives means that the harm that they cause to biodiversity, ecosystems, economies and societies across Canada, will continue to rise.
  • Living with Climate Change (LCC)
    This partner project aims to generate knowledge of how those directly affected by extreme social and environmental changes understand these changes, and how this understanding shapes their subsequent adaptation strategies. Given the global nature of climate change, successful adaptation demands the sharing of information across regions and nations and this project intends to build an expanding forum for ongoing collaboration around research into linking local knowledge and adaptation to policy and community development.
  • Peace and Conflict Impact Assessment (PCIA)
    York University has partnered with Peacebuild to contribute to the development of a PCIA community of practice committed to the critical development of PCIA theory and practice. The project will also include a special edition of the Journal of Peacebuilding and Development; a conference at York University in Toronto in May 2013; and enable the crafting of effective tools of conflict-sensitive development.
  • Policy Enactments and Sustainability Education (PEASE)
    The Policy Enactments and Sustainability Education (PEASE) project is a collaborative research project between York University and Lakehead University, which examines policy intersections around sustainability within Canadian formal education. It proposes to use educational institutions as laboratories to study the synergies and struggle policies experience with practice, with larger socio-cultural   context, and with each other.
  • Transnational Business Governance Interactions (TBGI)
    An international project on the forms and dynamics of interaction among transnational business governance initiatives. The project investigates a development that has largely escaped academic attention but is increasingly a fact of life for transnational companies, standards-setting groups and governments. From accounting standards to sustainable forestry certification, more and more of the norms and standards that govern business emanate not from conventional state institutions, but from an array of private and multi-stakeholder institutions operating in a dynamic, transnational regulatory space.
  • Work in a Warming World (W3)
    An international project which will study the challenge that climate change presents to Canadian employment and workplaces. The project will examine seven Canadian employment sectors to seek policy, training, employment and workplace solutions to effectively assist Canada’s transition to a low-emission economy.

    • What do we know? What do we need to know? Precursor to the W3 project, this Tri-Agency funded project first asks: What do we know? about climate change in key economic sectors and their labour markets. The project then asks: What do we need to know? identifying the knowledge gaps to be addressed by further research.

Past Research Projects

IRIS Member Projects

In addition to these multi-partner, multi-year research projects that IRIS has either directed or participated in over the years, IRIS faculty members are involved in sustainability projects that are not administered by the research centre. See a list of the IRIS member projects.

Furthermore, IRIS has also supported individual student initiatives in various aspects of sustainability. Please see our list of Junior Fellows for more information.